In the state of Utah alone, nearly 280 stillbirths occur every year according to a study from the Utah Department of Health. It is a tragedy that is heartbreaking for many mothers and their families.
The Lilly Pad Project does their part to aid these families by creating angel gowns and bereavement kits with special keepsakes for both the mother and the lost child. Since becoming an official non-profit, they have placed over 850 stillborn kits, 120 late miscarriage bereavement baskets, and 150 miscarriage condolence gifts (1,120 packages total).
At the heart of this project lies the story of Natalie Olsen, a mother who experienced the tragic loss of her stillborn baby, Lilly, in 2009. Years later, when her brother and her sister-in-law experienced the same loss of their own, Natalie created a burial outfit for their baby using her sister-in-law’s wedding dress. From that moment onward, Natalie has fueled a passion for helping others in her area who have struggled with the loss of an infant.
Natalie was already well-suited for the project as a professional seamstress. Teaming up with Chelsea Rowley, a mother of four, they began creating bereavement baskets to donate to hospitals in their local area. As a mother herself, Chelsea had the same desire to help grieving mothers cope and find comfort. Together, the two of them work diligently to run their new charity project and make a difference in their community.
Natalie and Chelsea use a DreamBox storage system to store all their sewing supplies and crafting tools.
As they set up their new DreamBox, they were able to remove 3 large pieces of furniture from their craft room, opening it up to make it more welcoming for service groups and young helpers. This made a world of difference for the project, giving them a designated space where they could stay organized and create kits with volunteers from the local community.
“We are loving the Dream Box. Volunteers always comment on how well organized everything is and it has made our space more streamlined and inviting. It’s been such a blessing to maximize storage in a small space.” -Chelsea Rowley
With the help of many local volunteers, Natalie and Chelsea are able to donate kits to local hospitals and families in the area. The response from their community has been nothing but positive:
“One of my jobs is working in a funeral home, so unfortunately, I have experience with these precious little ones. It can be difficult, but I feel honored to be able to help. In that regard, I know sincerely how much these will mean to parents. Bless you all for your involvement in this wonderful project! -Michelle Meade
“I wanted to personally thank you for your donations to our hospital. We have recently been able to use them, and it has brought an amazing amount of comfort to these families. Please know how much we appreciate your service! -Shelby Bullock, OB Manager
Each bereavement kit donated includes an outfit, a cap or headband, a diaper, and socks. There are also handmade keepsakes such as stuffed animals, and blankets. This year, Natalie and Chelsea are happy for the opportunity to start donating miscarriage and second trimester loss kits. The second trimester kits will include similar keepsakes, as well as an angel pocket, a basket, and a pillow.
Currently, The Lilly Pad Project is in need of knitted/crocheted bereavement items. They are always happy to accept seamstress volunteers to help sew angel gowns at their Santaquin, Utah location. If you would like to get in touch with them for patterns and specific details on the keepsake items, feel free to reach out to them on their Facebook page.
How will you make a difference today?
Join us in supporting a good cause and donate to The Lilly Pad Project HERE.