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National columnist pledges donation during for the Gainesville Care Center
Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas delivers the keynote address at Tuesday evening’s fundraiser for The Gainesville Care Center at the First Baptist Church banquet hall.

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas went so far as to offer up his own money when he urged anti-abortion supporters to give theirs Tuesday to the Gainesville Care Center.

The nationally syndicated Thomas offered to give $1,000 to the pregnancy support center, and urged the about 500 banquet attendees to do the same.

"What at the end of your life will have as much value?" Thomas said.

Thomas headlined the Gainesville Care Center’s annual fundraising banquet Tuesday. The banquet serves as the main fundraiser for the center, which operates on about $220,000 annually, according to its executive director, Ann Gainey.

The Christian center uses the funds to provide complimentary and confidential pregnancy and STD testing as well as pregnancy support and post-abortion counseling to about 12,000 people in the community each year, Gainey said.

Thomas, who writes a weekly column for USA Today and regularly appears on Fox News Channel, acknowledged the state of the economy, but asked Tuesday’s attendees to weigh its importance with the value of a life that might be saved by supporting the Gainesville Care Center.

"What are you investing in that is going to produce dividends for eternity?" Thomas said. "You can’t invest in anything right now that’s going to produce dividends for the next month, but what can you invest in that will really, really matter when you leave this life?"

He urged anti-abortion supporters — who he said do not have "many friends politically in Congress and certainly the press is not on our side" — to use their powers locally to make a political statement.

"Reach out in the Gainesville area," he said. "You can’t influence that much of what’s going on in Washington or even in Atlanta that much, but you can make a huge difference in what happens in this area right here."