WOODBURN, Ind. (WANE) — Safe Haven Baby Boxes have been steadily chipping away at their goal of being in all 50 states by 2025, and that milestone might come a lot quicker for them after going viral on TikTok.
Founder Monica Kelsey said the organization only started posting on TikTok a week ago. In that time the videos have gotten nearly 20 million views.
It all started with a walk-through video at the first box at the Woodburn City Fire Department explaining how the baby boxes work. Kelsey posted the video at 2:30 last Thursday and by 5:00 pm she had 100,000 views on the video. By the next morning, it had jumped up to seven million views. A week later, the video is at just under 20 million views with millions of likes and hundreds of comments.
Because of the viral video, Safe Haven has seen hundreds of email and phone inquiries from people in places like the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden looking to install boxes in their countries.
“Safe Haven Baby Boxes started in Indiana simply to save a few babies that were being dumped in our state,” Kelsey said. “Now, we’re in multiple states in the United States, and we’re also looking at donating a box in South Africa. And so what I thought was just going to be local, has really turned into something huge and it just kind of shows you that everyone has purpose.”
With that extra attention comes the issue of covering the cost of installation. Safe Haven Baby Boxes does not take any government funding, so often locations have to help raise the money if they would like a box installed.
“We do donate a lot of boxes to locations that don’t have those funds,” said Kelsey. “So we do have to look for resources and donations and fundraising, and that that, that really puts a toll on us because we have so many inquiries, but we can only put out so many boxes with the money that we have.
Kelsey said the attention was unexpected but what’s most important is that young people are learning about the Safe Haven Law.
“It’s encouraging, though, because people are taking an interest and asking the questions, and they’re getting educated at the same time,” Kelsey said. “Millions of people now know about the Safe Haven law across this country simply because of one TikTok video started in Woodburn, Indiana.”
Kelsey said they are hoping to keep the momentum going by exploring how else they can get information out on TikTok.
“We have to kind of think outside the box, per se, to educate these parents that need to know about the law,” said Kelsey. “We are working on different ideas, humorous ideas, you know, because sometimes humor brings education, but also on a serious note, as well so we’re working on that you’ll see some more videos coming up.”