KENNEWICK, WA, March 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A fashion and design company is joining forces with a pro-life, pro-woman service ministry in one of the most creative ways possible.
Ryan Welch founded Hope Outfitters, a group that designs, brands, and sells clothing and decals – with a twist: the volunteer-run company earmarks 100 percent of its profits for charitable causes.
Its current campaign is selling t-shirts proclaiming the glories of life to fund a group that provides mobile ultrasounds anywhere abortion-minded women may be.
Save the Storks works with pregnancy resource centers by making available state-of-the art mobile medical vehicles, which they call Stork Buses, to locations like college campuses and in front of abortion facilities.
Welch spoke with LifeSiteNews about why his up-and-coming company is partnering with the pro-life ministry to rescue Pacific Northwest mothers and their unborn children from abortion.
Welch founded Hope Outfitters in 2013. The organization designs the items to raise funds for causes that serve people in need, domestically and worldwide.
“We try to bring awareness to the cause and make a difference for people who have a serious need of some kind,” he told LifeSiteNews.
Hope Outfitters, presently run by volunteers from 11 founding families, was able to donate more than $10,000 to causes serving the needy in its first year.
Building a homeless shelter in Washington state, supporting orphans locally and globally, fighting human trafficking nationwide and providing wells for a leper colony in India are among the projects Hope Outfitters has conducted.
“We aren’t getting rich, but we’re making a difference in the world,” said Welch.
While Hope Outfitters’ work is by its nature life-giving, The Handmade Campaign is the first that is specifically pro-life focused.
Welch had met Save the Storks founder Joe Baker at a Christian festival in July of last year and the two began talking about how they might be able to partner. Pregnancy centers in the Tri-City area of Washington state were looking at the possibility of a mobile unit, he said, but it was going to take three-to-five years to make it happen.
Welch told LifeSiteNews what got him was hearing Baker’s story about standing outside a Planned Parenthood, inviting abortion-minded mothers who were headed into the abortion facility to receive a free ultrasound of their baby in a mobile ultrasound unit, and the experience of having a hand in helping women in crisis to choose life after they’d been lead to believe they have no other options.
Making free ultrasounds available to mothers in unexpected pregnancies is the key element of the initiative, because statistics show that seeing an ultrasound often influences women to save their unborn children.
“These women come in thinking that’s their only option, and we can tell them, 'Both you and your baby are loved, and there are people here who want to help you,'” Welch told LifeSiteNews. “That’s not a piece of tissue; that’s a living person, just like you.”
Once the group prayed and trusted God, he said they received affirmation of their choice, and everything fell into place.
The Handmade Campaign – Save the Storks campaign offers t-shirts and decals either bearing the logo “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” or an image of DNA being hand-knit by the Lord.
Welch said the families prayed about the project as part of the vetting process, and they had discussed the implications of taking on what is viewed by many as a political hot button, but they ultimately discerned it was a service opportunity that they couldn’t pass up.
“This is such an important issue,” Welch told LifeSiteNews. “We believe in the power of [Save the Storks] to save lives.”
“All of these cool things started happening to confirm that we were heading in the right direction,” Welch said.
At $15,000, it is the largest campaign Hope Outfitters has taken on – but a Stork Bus can cost upwards of $120,000.
So, Hope Outfitters is stepping up not only to help raise the initial $15,000, the group is also doing additional networking with churches and other organizations to help secure the rest of the funds needed for the bus.
It’s a significant task for a still-fledgling company staffed by volunteers who also hold down full-time jobs. But reaching abortion-vulnerable mothers with ultrasound images of their unborn children is a tangible way to help save lives, Welch told LifeSiteNews, and it is in keeping with the group’s mission of taking care of the “least of these.”
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“What an amazing way to have an impact on these women’s lives,” he said. “And tell them they are loved and have people to support them.”
Welch said that such that he’s had to begin contracting for labor and will also need to begin looking soon at hiring staff. “It’s pretty crazy,” he said.
A new campaign is launched every four months, and this latest effort, The Handmade Campaign – Save the Storks, runs through June.
The Handmade Campaign appears in its early stages to be taking off. A video titled How to Save a Life was published on the Hope Outfitters website and Facebook page to launch the campaign, and Welch said in the first two hours of the video being posted it had 400 shares and more than 11,000 views.
“With the simple purchase of a t-shirt, you can save a life,” he said.
For more information on Hope Outfitters, please visit www.hopeoutfitters.com and www.buy1give100.org.