A Pregnancy Center’s Experience Going Mobile
By Natasha Smith
“I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but this thing is going to fundamentally transform the work that we do,” said Chuck Swanson, the Executive Director of Options for Women in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Their new Stork Bus was delivered on July 26.
“You know this is going to make such a difference in the way we meet and touch with our clients. I want to make a difference in people’s lives, and this is going to do that,” he said.
“I’ve been in this ministry for 25 years now and this is the most exciting thing I think I’ve seen happen in our ministry. I think the mobile unit is going to take us to the next level; this is the thing that’s going to launch us into the future.”
The Need for Mobility
Options for Women is a thriving pregnancy resource center (PRC) in New Jersey. Their organization currently has four locations, serving Trenton, Cherry Hill, and two locations along the Jersey shore: Ocean City and North Cape. Their original center, in Cherry Hill, is just four blocks away from an abortion clinic that performs 10,000 abortions a year.
“Our service area here is about three counties wide and a lot of our clients come from the poor areas in the tri-county area,” Swanson said. “They come because they feel like they’ll be treated well. I don’t think a lot of our clients understand that we’re Christians and we do this to serve God, they just know we’re nice. It’s a nice facility and they can get the services they need.”
But Swanson wanted to reach even more clients. By going mobile, they’re able to be more available for their clients and help those who struggle to find transportation to their centers.
“If you think about who our clients are, they probably work odd hours in places that are not right where our centers are,” Swanson explained. “In particular, [our] Ocean City office, [our clients are] 12 or 15 miles away sometimes, and to get to our office requires two buses, and then about a walk of about three-quarters of a mile.”
Deciding to get a Stork Bus
Swanson found Save the Storks online by searching Mobile Pregnancy Clinic. He called Storks to learn more. After that conversation, the team at Save the Storks researched abortion rates in his area and started searching for grants to help Options for Women go mobile.
“The grant was $160,000 and the total cost for the mobile unit was like $201,” Swanson said. “We actually found someone who was willing to make up the difference and then throw in some more money for operating expenses.”
In early July, Save the Storks flew Swanson to Summit Body Works in Colorado, where the Stork Buses are built.
“I was just so impressed with the quality of every single aspect of it,” Swanson stated. “Everything is done really well. The fit and finish is really good, the quality of the work is just amazing and I’m just really pleased with Summit, they did a really fabulous job.”
Their Stork Bus, Hope, arrived at their center on July 26.
“I didn’t cry,” Swanson joked. “No, I did. It was overwhelming. I just know God’s going to use this thing enormously and I’m just ready to get on the road as soon as we can.”
Hopes for the future:
“We want to be more holistic,” Swanson said. “We want to have a presence in front of every abortion center. We want to have an advocacy outreach in South Jersey, where we have thought leaders that are constantly out there, making the case for life. We want to make sure that we’re covering every area, geographically that needs to have their needs met. And all of that, with the intention of helping cut down the number of abortions and sharing the Gospel wherever we go.”
“Counseling and the ultrasound are needed everywhere,” Swanson continued. “We will be taking the mobile unit to within a few miles of each of our centers so that we can refer people back to our volunteers and staff and each of the centers and provide an ongoing relationship.
Not just get them on the [bus] and say ‘Oh, we saved a baby.’ We want to build a relationship with them and help them to have a good pregnancy and a great outcome and share the [Gospel] with them too.
Swanson’s team hoped to officially launch their ministry in September 2021. If you would like to learn more about their ministry or contribute to their mission, go to www.optionsnj.org.