A batch of blueberry muffins by Guevara. (Courtesy photo)

Every spring, national fundraiser Fund-A-Thon campaigns to destigmatize abortion and to raise money for abortion funds.

“There’s a lot of financial barriers when trying to access abortion,” Cathryn Torres, a board director with Frontera Fund, said. “We like to let folks know that while abortion is legal, it’s not always accessable, so abortion funds are here to alleviate that burdon.” 

Frontera Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides support and financial assistance to people who live, or are traveling to have their abortion, in the Rio Grande Valley. 

According to Torres, numerous events had been booked for April, such as concerts and dance parties, to fundraise for Fund-A-Thon; however, with the pandemic, everything was canceled. 

Now, the nonprofit is searching for other ways to raise money. Torres recalled an Austin board member who has been making masks. When approached about price, her friend said all people had to do was donate to the Fund-A-Thon to receive one.

However, it wasn’t until a friend — apprehensive about going to a store — came to Torres and asked her for pastries after seeing social media posts about her baking. That’s how Torres came up with the idea of a contactless bake sale. 

“I tweeted the idea, everyone loved it,” Torres said. Emma and Bianca, two of Torres’ friends, reached out and wanted to help, as well. Miles away, another friend from Austin joined in. 

In order to receive a pastry, individuals had to donate then send a screenshot of the confirmation to the bakers.

Each baker wore masks as they baked and cooked the food, and disinfected countertops. Donors were given the option for delivery or pick up. Torres covered McAllen and Edinburg orders, Emma covered Brownsville, and Bianca covered Weslaco.

The bake sale sweets were wrapped in plastic and placed in paper or Ziploc bags so when people receive their orders, they are able to disinfect the packaging without damaging the food. 

“People were really receptive of it,” Torres said about the bake sale. “We’ve pretty much been bombarding social media and sending messages out.” 

Torres mentioned they hold bake sales annually; this year would’ve been their third time.  Despite changing to a contactless bake sale, Torres said it was the most money they have ever raised. 

Between the three, they raised $1,250 dollars in just two days. Additionally, their friend from Austin raised $1,800. All funds go directly to Frontera Fund. 

According to Torres, some monetary donations were made by individuals who wanted to donate the pastries to other people as well. 

“It’s really been a very strong sense of community while we’re staying at home which is such a unique experience,” she said. “We’re all kind of new to this pandemic experience and it’s been so great feeling so much community from the safety of our home.”

Although Thursday was the last day of the bake sale, the community’s response has encouraged Torres to hold another. 

She plans to discuss the next bake sale with her friends, make her pastries more accessible by making vegan and gluten-free options, and hopes for more involvement so they can expand coverage to areas such as Mission and Rio Grande City. 

Already, the bake sale got the group halfway to their $10,000 goal.

Focaccia dough ready to be baked. (Courtesy photo)

Torres explained that abortion costs aren’t cheap. There are several financial factors in addition to the cost of abortion, including consultation fees, hotel fees for people who are traveling for the procedure and transportation fees. 

Due to the Hyde Amendment, the use of federal funds, including Medicaid, are prohibited from covering abortion fees and private insurance in Texas is prohibited from covering abortions after the passage of legislation during the 2017 legislative session. As a result, abortion costs have to be paid out of pocket. 

With the restrictions imposed by the state, Torres adds that some people were left in limbo and were forced to leave the state. 

“Abortions can range from $500 to over $1,000 easily, depending on gestation or depending on how far along” Torres said.

Torres emphasized how any little bit helps. 

“We have to come together to fight it and that’s why abortion funds like ourselves, Frontera Funds, exist” she said. “We want people to know that no matter what happens… we are here to help, no matter what.” 

For more information on donating to Frontera Fund’s Fund-A-Thon campaign, visit https://fund.nnaf.org/campaign/frontera-fund/c271941