ANGOLA — The 20th Safe Haven Baby Box in the country will be unveiled and blessed Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Angola.
The box will be the 16th installed in Indiana.
The box is located at the Angola Fire Department, 202 W. Gilmore St., Angola on the northwest corner of the station. It will be available for public use starting on Monday.
Funding for the purchase and installation of the box was given through grants by the Steuben County Community Foundation. Wagler Construction and Mike Rathburn of Rathburn Masonry donated services and materials for the installation.
“The Foundation was happy to see the fire department and city come together to make this resource available. It’s not every day the board can make a grant that has such broad community impact,” said SCCF President and CEO Jennifer Danic in a media release.
Each box costs approximately $15,000, including installation, according to a media release.
The media release also said the location of the box was chosen due to accessibility and proximity to the Michigan state line.
There are three boxes in Ohio and one in Arkansas.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows people to anonymously surrender a healthy newborn without fear of prosecution at any fire station. Safe Haven Baby Boxes are a resource for women in crisis to ensure a safe surrender of their baby.
Indiana is one of five states with updated Safe Haven Laws to include additional surrender options, including the boxes.
Each box is equipped with an alarm system that notifies 9-1-1 and staff inside the station immediately. The boxes also have heating and cooling features and lock as soon as the newborn is placed inside.
Safe Haven Baby Box Inc. is a non-profit founded by firefighter and medic Monica Kelsey. Kelsey was abandoned as an infant and is committed to installing more Safe Haven Baby Boxes and raising awareness in communities across America.
The Safe Haven Baby Box organization also staffs a 24-hour hotline, 866-99BABY1, to give women the opportunity to talk to a trained professional as they consider safely surrendering their baby.
“So far in 2019, seven babies have been surrendered in Indiana safely as a result of calling the Safe Haven Baby Box hotline or using a Safe Haven Baby Box. We know that education and awareness around the Safe Haven Laws and Safe Haven Baby Boxes save lives. Women in crisis need more options, in more locations throughout the state of Indiana,” said Kelsey in a media release.
Monday’s ceremony is anticipated to last half an hour and will have speakers including Monica Kelsey, Mayor Richard Hickman, Angola Fire Department Public Information Officer T.R. Hagerty and SCCF President and CEO Jennifer Danic.
For more information on Safe Haven Baby Boxes, visit shbb.org.