Women's Care Center had its beginnings in 1985 when a young couple volunteered to chair a local outreach ministry of the newly formed Rhea County Christian Action Council. They recruited and trained volunteers to make a 24-hour counseling hotline available for women with unwanted pregnancies.
In the mid-1980s, the newly formed Crisis Pregnancy Center was housed in Keener Marketing on Main Street. Serving an average of 16 clients a month, a local doctor performed pregnancy tests, flash cards were used in counseling, and clothing of all sizes were kept in an upstairs storage area. In 1986, the Center was relocated to an apartment donated by a local couple, and in 1987, it was incorporated as the Crisis Pregnancy Center, Inc. of Rhea County. Many caring volunteers furnished the small apartment. In 1990, the first year that client statistics were available, 252 clients were seen with contacts for the year totaling 551.
The Crisis Center moved twice more to larger facilities on Market Street, with the name of the ministry changed to Women's Care Center of Rhea County to reflect the new direction in which the Lord was leading. A number of instructional classes including nutrition, childbirth, parenting, etc., were offered; and an abstinence education program was begun in the public schools. In 2003 a satellite office was opened in Spring City to further the outreach of the ministry to the northern end of Rhea County.
In December 2004, a building was purchased on Main Street. In November 2005 with Phase One of the renovations completed, the Center moved to its current location--right across the street from the very first ministry office. Following the completion of Phases Two and Three which included a kitchen, laundry room, storage and meeting areas, and a bathroom, the Center now occupies the entire 7,000 square foot building. In 2014, 494 new clients were seen, with a total of 2,164 client services provided. In addition, the Edge reached over 2,200 students were taught in a three county area.We saw 18 clients make professions of faith in Christ, and know of two babies saved from abortion.
In mid 2007, a significant milestone occurred with the donation of an ultrasound machine. With much prayer and hard work, the Women's Care Center converted to a Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic, hired two part-time nurses, and began offering limited ultrasound screenings to clients in November 2007.
Free services offered to the community have expanded tremendously over the last two decades as the Women's Care Center seeks to serve those in need of emotional, spiritual and material support. Among services offered are pregnancy testing, limited obstetrical ultrasounds, childbirth and parenting classes, post abortion counseling, referrals to other community agencies, 24-hour helpline, baby and maternity clothing, Pathway to Hope (an earn-while-you-learn parenting program), and "the Edge" educational program.
In the fall of 2008, a group of individuals from Sequatchie County approached the Women's Care Center concerning the growing need in their community for a care center. Following Board approval, a steering committee was begun with community leaders from the Dunlap area. Churches, groups and individuals embraced the plan for such a ministry and began fundraising and seeking a location for the Dunlap center. Many individuals in the community completed counselor training sessions, and Debbie Chandler was named Center Director. On August 3, 2009, the Dunlap center opened at 15324 Rankin Avenue; and in less than five months the Dunlap center saw 56 new clients and recorded 172 follow up visits.
Women's Care Center's mission continues to be the same as when it began 25 years ago: to offer hope and compassion to everyone who walks through the door, reaching out with friendship and truth to those in need.