FERDINAND, Ind. (WFIE) - An important day for Dubois County as a Safe Haven Baby Box was unveiled Thursday in Ferdinand.
As of now, 46 different Safe Haven Baby Boxes are set up throughout the entire country. Out of those boxes, 42 are located in Indiana.
The 46th box went live on Thursday.
Multiple spectators gathered for a “blessing of the box” at the Ferdinand Fire Station located on East 3rd Street.
A Safe Haven Baby Box offers mothers in crisis a safe, anonymous place to surrender their baby if they feel they cannot keep it.
Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, knows personally how important they are because her biological mother, who was raped, abandoned her after she was born.
“When I met my biological mother, I was 37 years old," Kelsey said. "It was the best and worst day of my life because I’d been dreaming of that day for a long time, but then I was handed a police report dated August 25 of 1972, and learned that my life wasn’t a wanted child. I was whisked into this world by violence. The empathy that I learned from her in her story allows me to have the empathy that I do for these women today. I walk alongside these women, because no women walked alongside my birth mom.”
Ferdinand was able to get the box due to the efforts of a couple of eighth graders, Isabella Harmon and Tori Hemmerlein, who raised over $15,000 for the project.
“How can we raise awareness and get this issue known about, and make this something that can happen for people in our surrounding towns," Harmon said. "We never thought we would be able to raise over $15,000 and bring a baby box that can save so many lives.”
Kelsey says that since she launched Safe Haven Baby Boxes in 2016, no baby has died in Indiana from abandonment.