Baby Box to be dedicated Sunday
A Safe Haven Baby Box Blessing Ceremony will be held Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. at the Sunman Area Life Squad, 403 N. Meridian Street, Sunman. This is the first of three baby boxes placed in Ripley County thanks to the generosity of the people here and many others, who helped along the way.
Mary Beth Boone, a strong proponent of the Boxes, brought the idea to the County with the Commissioners and Council getting on board immediately. She said they rose to the challenge, and she couldn’t be prouder. “Ripley County was great to work with, Mark Horstman was so amazing and helpful. I was so well received, the county government was just outstanding,” she told The Versailles Republican. She hasn’t always had that kind of reception and found Ripley County to be kind and generous.
What is the importance of a Baby Box? These reception centers for babies began through the efforts of Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned two hours after birth. Her passion for the situation of these mothers ignited a fire within Boone that isn’t easy to quench.
Getting the boxes in place proved to be a challenge with laws and details, but Boone was not one to be stopped. She founded the Madison Mission Inc., a non-for-profit organization and hasn’t looked back. Anywhere there is reception for the idea of a box, she is there to help with the details.
Although the numbers change quickly, across the State of Indiana there are about 93 boxes with 132 babies surrendered. “The mother just puts the baby in the box with the ‘no name – no blame’ concept and we take it from there,” Boone explained. She noted that’s not the end, but the very beginning when three alarms go off and babies are tenderly gathered from the box within seconds. The boxes are typically placed in EMS buildings and firehouses across the nation. There are cameras in the boxes and ongoing information for the mothers who leave their precious babies.
Boone’s personal struggles have given her the tender heart she has for the boxes and it’s more than a project for her – it’s a way of life. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Child Advocacy Center and has a big heart for children.
A little information about the babies that have been left in the Blessing Boxes from Boone include for the most part they are healthy, drug-free, reaching
milestones and their birth mothers can stay in touch if they want to. They are loved – by the mother who leaves them, to the people who care for them until they find themselves in the arms of their new parents.
Boone is a business owner who knows the only real investment is in our children. “They are our future leaders,” she concluded.
Monica Kelsey will be having a book signing for her Blessed to be Abandoned book she wrote about her life at Blush on Main in downtown Madison on Saturday, March 25 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Come to Sunman on Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. to witness the ceremony where there will be brief comments from state and local dignitaries, members of the Sunman Area Life Squad Team and Sponsor Agency Representatives. There will be a demonstration of the baby box and blessing by Father Shaun Whittington.
Editor’s Note: Two more boxes will be dedicated soon, they are located at the Milan and Versailles EMS buildings.