DECATUR, Ind. (WANE) — A new baby box will make it easier for parents south of Fort Wayne to safely surrender their newborns.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed its first box in 2016 in founder and CEO Monica Kelsey’s hometown of Woodburn, Indiana. Two years later in 2018, they expanded box installations to fire stations and hospitals, and on Thursday, they installed their 34th baby box in four years and across five states. The box, which was installed in Decatur at Fire Station Number 1, was chosen in part because of a gap on the map of baby box accessibility.
“This was a perfect location because it’s south of Fort Wayne and there’s nothing south of Decatur that has a baby box until you get to Fortville,” said Kelsey. “This is a perfect location to get for the surrounding counties as well as for women in Decatur.”
Kelsey said she is always happy to see a new box installed because each box could mean the difference between a baby being abandoned in a dumpster or on a roadside, or being left somewhere safe. Fire Chief Les Marckel said he was initially reluctant about installing a baby box because it is not something with an impact that can be easily measured.
“You just simply can’t measure it,” said Marckel. “If you need another fire truck, you do a gap analysis and add personel because there’s a need. I just couldn’t get my mind around that.”
He changed his mind on the matter after hearing a radio interview with Kelsey while on his way home one evening.
“What she said was that it was an opportunity for this mother to show love, and for some it’s their last alternative and it changed my mind on the way home,” said Marckel.
Marckel said he heard plenty of positive comments from other area fire chiefs about the baby boxes and he feels it will be a positive resource for the area.
Kelsey said one of the next places she would like to see a baby box would be in the Louisville, Kentucky area because as of now the closest box to Louisville is in Seymour, Indiana.
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