Hope's Cradle is a service started by Calgary-based non-profit Gems for Gems. It's a safe place for mothers to drop off an abandoned baby to prevent babies from dying in places like a dumpster or ditch.
Gems for Gems founder Jordan Guildford said the success of Strathmore's Hope's Cradle has them feeling good about expanding.
"It's going really well, the Strathmore Fire Department and the community in general remain very proud of it and happy that it's there, and they've been a really wonderful resource for us to be able to make continued efforts to expand this initiative not only across Alberta, but across Canada too," she said.
Guildford said Strathmore has been a particularly great place to start Hope's Cradle. The Strathmore Fire Department's willingness to help expand the program has played a huge role in potential expansion talks.
"I didn't even understand at the beginning how great of a launching pad it (Strathmore Fire Department) would be, but it has been exceptional. And Captain Eric Alexander himself has been exceptional."
"The expansion was why Strathmore was willing to partner with us, because Captain Eric Alexander really wanted this to be able to grow legs and be able to go Canada wide and for sure Alberta. But because of the success, it has been a really wonderful place for us to be able to prove our theory of the success of this and the need of it."
While Strathmore has been an amazing location, Guildford said she is facing some obstacles in trying to expand. She explained that some fire stations are concerned about what they call 'the perfect storm', which means a scenario where all the fire fighters have to be dispatched, so no one would be able to get the baby right away. However, Guildford says this shouldn't be an issue, since the fire departments aren't solely responsible.
"There's an alarm. So dispatch is called, the ambulance is called, so it's not all just on the firefighters. Even if the baby did have to wait for a little bit, it's a heck of a lot better than a ditch or a dumpster."
This hasn't deterred her from expanding though. Even though some fire stations may be a bit hesitant, there are still stations out there willing to provide the Hope's Cradle service. And if an area doesn't have an interested fire station, Gems for Gems is also reaching out to community centers and churches.
"We have a fire station in Chestermere that's interested, Winnipeg we have a few different locations that are interested, Medicine Hat we have a fire station interested, Victoria we do, and Ontario we have a few locations. Nova Scotia has already fundraised enough for a Hope's Cradle so we're looking for a location there right now."
Guildford says baby abandonment is a bigger issue than some may think, and encourages everyone to reach out to their local fire departments or community organizations if they want to bring a Hope's Cradle to their community.
"If you have a low abandonment rate, all that means is that you have a low discovery rate. Because the bottom line is that babies are being abandoned, and the ones that we find are by fluke. For instance, one of the latest ones in Calgary was found because a homeless person was looking for food in a dumpster. It's happening regardless of whether we're finding the babies, and we need to be proactive and provide a safe alternative. That baby's life could've been saved."
If you are interested in learning more about Hope's Cradle or would like to donate, you can do so here.
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