Last year, Hunter Wart, a 19-year-old teenager from Indiana raised $10,000 to purchase and implement a Safe Haven Baby Box at his local fire department.
While he was a senior at Columbus North High School, Wart decided to dedicate his senior project to purchasing and setting up a Safe Haven Baby Box. He spent hours and hours mowing lawns and scrapping metals in order to raise the funds needed to buy and install the box.
“It was a lot of hard work. A lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Hunter’s mother Julia Kwasniewski shared.
Just six months after the boxes installation, a newborn baby girl was found inside, the box saving her life.
“We are ecstatic that the system was used. It worked perfect, exactly how it was designed to work,” Fire Chief Brad Lucas shared with CNN.
The boxes, designed by Monica Kelsey, can be found in several states around the United States, with 24 currently installed.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes was founded by Kelsey in 2016 after she realized how many babies were being abandoned to die by their mothers each year. Kelsey, herself was abandoned as an infant and after learning that on average 2-3 babies die in Indiana each year from abandonment, she knew she had to do something.
“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.”
Honoring Hunter Wart
Recently, Wart was honored by Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson for his effort in saving abandoned babies.
“Here we are 224 days later and we’ve had our first baby saved by the box, and I think that’s an awesome feat,” Nicholson said. “I’m glad the city of Seymour and the council chose to get the box when they did.”
“I’m hopeful that one day she will see the story of how she was safely surrendered in the Safe Haven Baby Box I raised the money for…and search online for me,” Wart told CNN.