Pub 500 in Mankato, a city south of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has a new test dispenser in the women’s restroom. The machine charges $3 per pregnancy test on a credit or debit card.
Sparing even one unborn child from alcohol-related birth defects or developmental disabilities makes the effort worthwhile, said Tom Frederick, co-owner of the bar.
“It was another worthy cause,” he said when asked about the dispenser. “We’re involved in all kinds of things in our local community.”
The machine, installed July 19, is the brainchild of Healthy Brains for Children, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul that aims to reduce the number of children with learning and behavioral difficulties linked to alcohol exposure in the womb.
All money collected by the machine goes to the organization. “I don’t make a dime on the machine,” Frederick said. “We just gave them wall space.”
When a customer walks into the restroom, she will likely see the dispenser hanging to her right. “We’ve got a big mirror there — in the powder-your-nose area,” he said.
The crew posted a sign on the upper left of the machine to explain its presence in a bar. “A pregnant mother should not be drinking, and there are many cases where she may not even know that she is pregnant,” the sign reads, while acknowledging, “At first, we thought it was a strange idea, but quickly came to the conclusion of how this could be beneficial.”