One in four women will experience a miscarriage, and as many as 24,000 babies are stillborn each year. The Junior League of Panama City, (JLPC) Helping Hearts Committee serves families in our community facing infant loss by partnering with the Healthy Start Coalition of Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties. The committee’s mission is to recognize the lives of babies who have passed away, and also support women and families experiencing loss.
Established in 2021 as a JLPC placement in loving memory of Mark Andrew Kinkade Jr., son of Mark and Danielle Kinkade, Helping Hearts has offered year-round community support to families, by making bereavement boxes and bringing them to Gulf Coast Medical Center. In recognition of Infant Loss Awareness Month, the committee is hosting its 2nd Annual Teddy Bear Drive during the month of October to help provide teddy bears to women and families who have experienced late term pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or infant loss in our community.
“The bereavement boxes are very special and can provide extra comfort when your baby does not come home from the hospital. They are a sentiment, and a reminder of how precious life is,” Bridget Odum, Helping Hearts Committee Chair.
Each $25 donation provides a bear to a family in Bay County who is experiencing pregnancy & infant loss. The Committee has a goal of providing 100 teddy bears to women in our community during Infant Loss Awareness Month. To donate a teddy bear, view their Amazon Wishlist.
“In Bay County alone, the number of demises continues to increase annually. Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. The Junior League of Panama City knows that these are more than just numbers. These are our babies. And because of these precious babies, we will forever have footprints on our hearts,” Jennie Frey, JLPC President.
The League is offering an open invitation to anyone who may want to attend the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Candlelight Vigil that is dedicated to parents/families and/or caregivers who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or an infant, “Please join us in a candlelight vigil, at A.L. Kinsaul Park in Lynn Haven on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at 6:30 pm located at the Children’s Memorial Garden. Contact the Junior League of Panama City for more details at PH: 850-785-7870,” said Frey.
To donate a bear in honor of a specific child or family, please provide the baby’s name, family’s name, and email address in the notes section so that they may be notified of your donation.
For more information about the Helping Hearts committee, visit, JLPC Helping Hearts To support the continuing mission of JLPC, visit JLPanamaCity.org/donate.