In 1996, Victoria Swain gave birth to a stillborn baby in Brighton, weighing just four ounces and measuring only eight inches in length. At the time, the hospital was not equipped to provide a blanket or outfit for the infant. Through her grief, Swain saw a great need she could help fill. She began recruiting volunteers, crocheting booties, and collecting materials, so grieving parents could have something beautiful in which to wrap their babies.
From Swain’s efforts, Warm Hearts-Warm Babies (WHWB) was incorporated in 2000, with the goal of serving Colorado’s tiniest citizens.
“We try to offer something positive along with all the negative, and tell people that their babies do mean something to somebody,” says Glenda Bredeson, vice president of the board of WHWB.
Now headquartered in Arvada, the organization provides handmade items for premature babies in the NICU and assembles care packages for newborn babies in need. The volunteers also make clothing and blankets for babies who pass away. Eleven volunteer work groups from Brighton to Colorado Springs and everywhere in between regularly knit, sew, crochet, and quilt items for babies. Volunteers without sewing skills come to help, too.
Each month, WHWB delivers about 100 layettes—baby care packages including about 25 items for babies in need—to area hospitals, pregnancy centers, and other organizations. It also distributes about 200 afghans and quilts per month. When babies in need arrive, staff at the designated locations can distribute WHWB’s items free of charge. It serves about 50 agencies total at different times throughout the year. “We never tell any organization ‘no’ if we can help it,” says Bredeson.
Bredeson says the continued generosity of so many people has kept the completely volunteer-run organization going.
“Sometimes we get low financially and we never know what supplies we might have from day to day,” Bredeson says. “But then the donations come in. You’ll hear people around here say, ‘Oh, there’s God again.’ ”
How Families Can Help
- Join a work group near your home to help sew, quilt, knit, and crochet blankets and clothing for babies. Currently, volunteers are women ranging in age from 40s to 90s, but all ages are welcome. Volunteers without sewing skills are encouraged to come help with other jobs.
- Create baby items to donate, independently or with your own group, using the specific patterns and instructions on the WHWB website.
- Host a “baby shower” for WHWB with your organization, school, church, or neighborhood group. Ask guests to bring baby items like newborn onesies, individually wrapped baby bottles, diapers, shampoo, body wash, and lotion for WHWB’s goody bags. WHWB will bring display materials and speak about the organization at your shower.
- Assemble layettes and goody bags with a small group of volunteers, at WHWB’s Arvada-based office. Call or email in advance.
- Serve as a delivery driver on an occasional basis.
- Donate money to go directly to items for babies. See the website for details on a variety of ways to do this.