Save the Storks outfits vans to save lives

Michael Miller  ·  Aug 30, 2017

Samaritan Ministries member Paul Isaacs had tears in his eyes the first time he met Joe Baker, and it wasn’t because of the kung pao chicken Paul was eating.

Joe was telling Paul about Save the Storks, a Colorado-based ministry the Bakers had created in order to outfit vans with ultrasound machines and provide the vehicles to women’s pregnancy centers. The idea is to give easy-access, free sonograms to pregnant women considering abortion so they can see their babies and, hopefully, decide to keep them. Joe had started the ministry a couple years earlier. He and Paul met occasionally for lunch to talk about the ministry.

At one lunch, Paul, who worked for The Navigators, wondered why Joe hadn’t asked him to come onboard with Storks yet.

“I can’t afford you,” Paul remembered Joe saying. 

So Paul asked him, “What if I raised my own funding?”

“You had me at ‘Hello,’” Joe replied.

Paul serves as Save the Storks’ president while Joe is its CEO. The two also serve on the board of Storks’ sister ministry, Adopt a Love Story, which supports families needing financial help to adopt.

Save the Storks has deployed 36 outfitted vans to women’s pregnancy centers across the U.S. and has nine in production. With each van costing about $150,000 to equip, Storks funds a portion and the pregnancy center funds a portion while maintaining ownership of the van. The ministry wants pregnancy centers they work with to offer counseling, discipleship, food, clothing, formula—everything a mom needs for her baby. Storks provides training, coaching, and consultation.

Joe says that as of last year, 3,731 women visiting a Storks van had decided on life. That number, he says, is expected to hit 8,261 this year with more vans on the streets becoming operational. Save the Storks is building momentum as the process for each van goes through fundraising, outfitting, delivery, and training.

“Everything is just now exploding,” Joe says. “All these buses are now online, working. We’re able to save more lives this year than we have for the last five years because of that. Next year will be the same. It’s crazy.”

Joe and his wife, Ann, started raising money for Save the Storks soon after their marriage in 2011 as they toured the nation with three others in a gutted Mercedes van, living on a budget of $3 per meal (mostly peanut butter and jelly, a part of Storks culture to this day). That tour raised $10,000. The first bus hit the road in November 2013 and saw 394 women making decisions for life. 

Paul’s role as president is more of a pastoral role, he says. He speaks to churches and other groups, and helps to lead the 33-employee team. 

“Joe and I are like a two-headed monster,” Paul says. “No decisions are made without the confidence of the other. Joe for sure is the brains of this organization.”

Joe says that Paul leads the spiritual side of the ministry. “He’s a pastor at heart,” Joe says. “He loves people here so well. Paul is the glue that holds the Storks family together.”

Save the Storks isn’t just providing vans with ultrasounds to pregnancy centers, Paul says. It’s also part of a “rebranding” of the pro-life movement as the ministry tries to connect with the millennial generation by telling the stories of pregnancy resource centers, “the true heroes of this movement.”

“We want to kind of shine the light on them,” he says, especially doing so through digital media, “telling the story of what it means to be pro-life through images, through video, through blogging.” 

“We’re trying to help the pro-life movement be seen for what it really is: a movement of love and compassion.”