Lending helping hands

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

R-C News-Herald Editorial

Three local groups n two established entities and one newcomer n deserve a pat on the back.

The local county chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have joined in an effort to address the problem of teen smoking.

On Saturday morning, local chapter presidents Bennett Taylor (Northampton County), Rickie Saunders (Gates County) and David Harvey (Halifax County) met with the media during an event hosted by Nebo Baptist Church of Murfreesboro.

There, all three men said they would work hard in getting the message out in the smoking cessation campaign. All are working closely with their respective county health departments, public school system personnel and the faith-based community to spread the word.

According to the numbers, 27 percent of African-Americans in North Carolina have no health insurance, leaving families exposed to astronomical medical bills when faced with illnesses associated with smoking.

Hats off to the NAACP for recognizing and addressing this problem with teen smoking. They are targeting the 14-17 year-old age group with an information blitz. Those youngsters who want to stop smoking are urged to call 1-877-YESQUIT.

Another local organization, University Hospice, was the recent recipient of a $1,000 donation from the Ahoskie Wal-Mart.

We salute Wal-Mart and their associates for recognizing the financial needs of Hospice, a volunteer group that comforts terminally ill patients and families.

Hospice survives through donations, such as the one made by Wal-Mart, as well as through memorial gifts requested by the survivors of lost loved ones.

Please do your part to help Hospice, whether it’s through the means of a financial gift or offering your services as a volunteer. Contact the Ahoskie office of University Hospice (332-3392) and lend a helping hand.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, through its local associates, deserves praise for being an outstanding corporate sponsor. Through their financial contributions, they have greatly impacted several local projects. Their willingness to put something back into the communities that support Wal-Mart’s Ahoskie store says a lot about their commitment to the Roanoke-Chowan area.

This week’s final pat on the back goes to a local group in Hertford County who are in, pardon the pun, the infant stages of planning a local Pregnancy Center.

The latest available figures available (from 2003) reveal there were 367 pregnancies and 71 reported abortions in Hertford County. Statistics show that nine of 10 women who chose abortion would have given birth to their babies if they had received support in that decision.

The figures also reveal that 254 of those pregnancies were experienced by unwed mothers. This group of women needs support in making decisions during this crucial time in their lives.

A Pregnancy Center Ministry Steering Committee is being established by interested men and women in the Roanoke-Chowan area. An informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 in the Roanoke-Chowan Community College Small Business Center’s conference room in the Freeland Building.

This group is on a mission to offer alternatives to abortion and hope for women facing unplanned pregnancies. We wish the planning committee much success in this much-needed service in our area.