Teen Spent A Year Raising $10K To Install Baby Drop-Off Box, Later A Newborn Was Left Inside

Teen Spent A Year Raising $10K To Install Baby Drop-Off Box, Later A Newborn Was Left Inside

Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a safe place for distressed moms to drop off newborns while remaining anonymous.

At 19 years old, Hunter Wart from Indiana helped raise $10,000 needed to purchase a Safe Haven Baby Box for the Seymour Fire Department. For more than a year he worked by mowing lawns and scrapping metal to make sure there were enough funds to install a safe baby drop-off box. The box aimed to become a safe place for distressed mothers to drop off newborns while remaining anonymous. Such boxes hope to prevent the abandonment of newborns in unsafe conditions. Wart was a junior at Columbus North High School when he decided to raise money for a Safe Haven Baby Box as part of his senior project. Wart's mom Julia Kwasniewski told CNN, "It was a lot of hard work. A lot of blood, sweat and tears." Wart spent much of his time collecting metal, which his mom helped move to a scrap yard.


Although it wasn't easy, it was definitely worth it as it ended up saving a life! By June 2019 the box was finally installed at the fire department. Several months later a healthy baby girl was dropped off inside the baby box. She was only an hour old, according to fire Chief Brad Lucas. An alarm in the box alerted firefighters to the baby's presence within a minute of her arrival, he added. "We are ecstatic that the system was used," Lucas told CNN. "It worked perfect, exactly how it was designed to work." Kwasniewski beamed at her son's efforts added that she "would do it all again in a heartbeat, no question asked."


Safe Haven Baby Boxes was started in 2016 and has over 24 boxes in several states. Monica Kelsey is the founder of the nonprofit organization. The baby boxes give parents a an option of giving their child a better life by leaving the child in the Safe Haven Baby Box rather than abandoning them in unsafe conditions. They also offer a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis. Kelsey was abandoned as an infant herself and was determined to make sure such newborns are kept safe. According to the website, she "started Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. after learning she was abandoned as an infant and after seeing a 'baby box' in operation at a church, in Cape Town, South Africa. She has made it her personal mission to educate others on the Safe Haven Law and to do whatever it takes to save the lives of innocent babies from being abandoned.  The Safe Haven Baby Box takes the face to face interaction out of the surrender and protects the mother from being seen."  Two to three abandoned babies died every year in Indiana but after the baby box initiative the state has had no abandoned babies die, she said."These babies were left in trash cans and dumpsters. One was left at the door of a hospital. That baby had frozen to death before he was found," Kelsey told CNN. "But this little girl [in Seymour] is going to grow up knowing how much her birth mom loved her just like I did."


Cover Image Source: Facebook/SafeHavenBabyBoxes