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Community Foundation supports 'baby box' concept

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

The Henry County Community Foundation is not against the idea of establishing a “baby box” in New Castle for scared young mothers to drop off their newborns without consequences.

Beverly Matthews, president of the foundation, contacted the newspaper wishing to clarify comments made by local Knights of Columbus member William Huber at the Tuesday, Sept. 3 New Castle City Council meeting.

Huber had said “the Henry County Community Foundation was not receptive at all to opening an account there” for baby box donations.

But Matthews said there is no need for such an account.

“The Henry County Community Foundation (HCCF) is in support of the Baby Box for our community,” Matthews said. “After William Huber with the Knights of Columbus contacted me about setting up a Pass-Through Fund, I told him he didn’t need one at the Henry County Community Foundation. Since Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a nonprofit organization themselves, anyone who wants to support this effort can send their donations to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, PO Box 185, Woodburn, IN 46797 and include “New Castle Baby Box” on the check memo line.

“I spoke with Chanel Cunningham, Director of Programs and Administration, right after Mr. Huber contacted me,” added Matthews. “I invited them to apply for a community grant in the spring to secure a Baby Box for Henry County and she indicated they would do that. Ms. Cunningham asked me to let everyone know that they can send donations to them and they will track the contributions and take care of all acknowledgments and accounting for the New Castle account.”

For more information and to donate online, go to www.shbb.org. The public may contact Chanel at 1-888-742-2133.

Earlier this month, members of the New Castle City Council granted the Knights of Columbus and Huber permission to raise funds in the city for the “Safe Haven Baby Box” to be installed at New Castle Fire Station No. 1 on Main Street. The motion, made by Councilman Rex Peckinpaugh, also dedicated $200 annually from the city’s riverboat gambling proceeds for proper maintenance of the box.

Huber said the climate-controlled baby box would allow a mother put the child in a safe place, while, at the same time, setting off an alarm for emergency officials who would then come and get the baby so it could receive proper care.

But last Tuesday, city officials made it clear they could not offer any money toward the purchase of such a device. What they agreed to do was set aside $200 annually from riverboat gambling proceeds to take care of maintenance.

The cost of the baby box was reportedly $10,000.