by Megan Koontz
Save the Storks and Loving Choices—two non-profit, pro-life organizations—band together to lower abortion rates in America.
Save the Storks parks Mobile Medical Units outside of abortion clinics, public events and university campuses to offer free sonograms, counseling, and other services to women struggling with crisis pregnancies. Four out of five women who visit a Mobile Medical Unit decide to keep their baby.
In the summer of 2014, Teresa Fedosky, pro-life warrior and Save the Storks contributor, sent three of her sons to a summer camp called Summit Ministries to learn more about apologetics and deepen their faith. Throughout the course of the camp, faith-based organization representatives came to present their mission to the students.
One of the ministries that presented was Save the Storks, a pro-life organization that, according to their website, exists to “Partner with pregnancy resource centers and give abortion vulnerable women a choice that will change their lives forever.” The organization currently has 54 buses: 35 on the road, and 19 in production, according to their website.
Fedosky’s sons called her immediately after the presentation and told her about Save the Storks. She knew right away that she wanted to get involved and bring a mobile unit to Northwest Arkansas. She recalls a moment when she felt God calling her to help abortion-vulnerable women in her area.
Fedosky said, “My faith is foundational to this. Actually, it’s kind of interesting how it works both ways. It’s not that my faith makes me believe this about life, it’s that life makes me believe this about my faith. Study your biology (embryology) for a solid hour and convince me that God is not in the conception of every life. The fight is real, and I believe that choices change culture.”
However, the journey to bring a bus to NWA was not without roadblocks.
It takes $10,000 to become registered with Save the Storks. Building a bus (a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter) with all the proper equipment, including a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine, can cost upwards of $180,000. The ongoing operation of the bus, often called a “Stork Bus,” includes training volunteers in sidewalk ministry, employing a nurse to perform ultrasounds, hiring a driver that knows how to care for all of the necessary upkeep of the vehicle and employing the onboard clinic. The operation is expected to require an annual expense of $50,000.
Fedosky garnered a group of passionate, willing high school students to help her fundraise. They called themselves the NWA Stork Squad. They partnered with a small Pregnancy Resource Center in Huntsville, Open Arms Pregnancy Center, because they needed to be affiliated with a 501(c)(3) in order to become an affiliate of Save the Storks.
Bailey Hummel, former NWA Stork Squad member, shared fond memories of working with Fedosky. “I wanted to focus on the mothers and tell them that it’s not only about saving the baby, it is about saving the mother and the child at the same time,” Hummel said.
Hummel and her fellow NWA Stork Squad members raised $10,000 to become affiliated with Save the Storks along with an extra $25,000 for the cause. Eventually, however, many of the members graduated or moved, leaving Fedosky to find alternative options for fundraising.
Fedosky then recruited mothers in her circle of influence, some of whom had experienced abortions themselves, and they worked tirelessly to bring the bus to NWA. The group eventually arrived at the point where they could no longer raise funds on their own and the process was seemingly paused. However, Dana Schwiethale, who had recently become direcor of Loving Choices, said that God previously gave His vision for a NWA Stork Bus. Dana was at a pro-life rally in North Carolina when she saw a Stork Bus and met a Save the Storks representative. After talking with Dana, the representative said, “You sound just like someone I know from Arkansas! She’s working with a team to get a bus in NWA and you really need to meet. Her name is Teresa Fedosky. Here’s her phone number.”
According to their website, Loving Choices provides “outstanding counseling and limited medical services to any woman who may find herself experiencing a reproductive health crisis, whether it is an unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease,” offering free ultrasounds, STI testing, and counseling, both for women who have had abortions and women who decide to keep their babies.
The message and heart behind the shared vision of Loving Choice’s director, Dana Schwiethale, resonated with Fedosky and the mothers coming alongside her. They confidently partnered with the organization by transferring their affiliation and gladly giving them the small fund they had saved. They continued to work to raise awareness while Dana’s team went to work to raise the remaining funds needed to bring a Save the Storks bus to NWA.
Fedosky likens the work of the NWA Stork Squad to the biblical parable of the mustard seed. “It was a small beginning and a small offering,” she said. “We plant the tree. God makes it grow.”
After three, long years of providing more options for at-risk women during reproductive crises, Fedosky, her team, faithful teens, young moms and families joining the ministry of Loving Choices have raised enough money to bring a bus to NWA in March of 2018. Fedosky is excited to share her mission with the world and hopes this bus will make an impact. Fedosky commented, “We want to challenge our community and save our community. Babies that we kill today won’t be here in 40 years to make our community a better place.”
This article was originally posted at http://advocate.jbu.edu