TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Sugar Creek Fire Department has installed the 64th Safe Haven Baby Box in the nation at Sugar Creek Fire Department Station 41, located at 375 W. National Ave. in West Terre Haute. The box will be made available to the public starting on Monday, May 3 after the community unveiling at 2 p.m.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes began in 2016 to address the nation’s infant abandonment crisis, making great strides in giving a voice to this once silent epidemic.
This is the 55th Safe Haven Baby Box in Indiana, the most of any state. Click here for Safe Haven Baby Box locations.
As an infant that was abandoned back in 1973, Monica Kelsey grew up with a vision to embrace, understand, and perfect the Safe Haven Laws, all while helping mothers and children in crisis. With these tasks in mind, she left her career as a firefighter/medic to create the Safe Haven Baby Box Organization.
“Safe Haven Baby Boxes works hard to ensure that every parent knows all their options, including a Safe Haven surrender. We are proud to have Sugar Creek Fire Department Station 41 as our 64th Baby Box location and appreciate how the city of West Terre Haute is taking a proactive approach to end infant abandonment in our country,” Kelsey said.
Since 2016, there have been a total of 10 babies placed inside baby boxes, with six taking place in 2020. This is just one of the pieces of the puzzle that makes Safe Haven Baby Boxes such an impactful mission. The organization also has been educating students and raising awareness in communities across America as well as providing crucial emergency personnel training on how to best respond to both mother and child in this situation.
The Safe Haven National 24-hour hotline (1-866-99BABY1) offers counseling services to a parent who is unable or unwilling to care for their newborn. Nationwide, 98 surrenders have resulted from calling the Safe Haven National 24-hour hotline.
“This will help any mother in crisis to make a decision to safely surrender their child and not worry about judgement. Sugar Creek Fire Department would like to thank all community members and businesses that helped to make this project possible. A special thank you to Amy Sittler of the Sugar Creek Fire Department, who started and made this possible, ” said Sugar Creek FD Public Information Officer Lt. Joshua Sittler.
Speakers at the May 3 blessing of the Sugar Creek Baby Box will be Safe Haven’s Kelsey, SCFD’s Joshua Sittler and Fire Department Chaplin Mark Sellars.