Westfield woman fundraises for baby box

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Barb Cook has a heart for the innocent. That’s why the Westfield resident is raising funds to install a Safe Haven Baby Box in one of the Westfield Fire Dept. stations.

An example of a Safe Haven Baby Box. (Submitted photo)

“Their mission statement is to prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by raising awareness and offering a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis and offering a last-resort surrender option for women, which is the baby box,” Cook said. “I started thinking about this, and this is something great for the community to get behind so they can play a proactive role in saving the lives of children.”

Cook said every community could use a baby box but she hopes they don’t need to be used.

“This provides safety for the baby, but it’s also something tangible where the Safe Haven law is not,” Cook said. “This is something people can see in the community, and that allows for further education about it.”

Although Cook said Safe Haven encourages face-to-face surrenders, the box provides a safe way for babies to be anonymously surrendered.

There are 21 active baby boxes in Indiana. In addition, 50 communities in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Arkansas raising funds to install boxes. Cook wants to raise $16,000.

“My goal is to approach businesses and service organizations and private individuals that have a vested interest in the community,” she said. “This isn’t a government project but a community project.”

Cook plans to launch her campaign by writing letters. Her goal is to raise the funds by the end of 2020.

For more or to donate, email babyboxwestfield@gmail.com.

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