Beautiful wooden keepsakes designed for parents who lose a child at birth are at the heart of a thoughtful recycling project.
Built from the solid oak shelves that showcased books at the Sarnia Public Library for more than 70 years, the golden ‘memory boxes’ are designed to hold the tokens of a precious life cut short.
Built by volunteers at the Strangway Hobby Shop, the boxes protect and save receiving blankets, booties, teddy bears and casts of a tiny infant’s hands and feet.
“Its emotional,” said hobby shop volunteer and co-ordinator Susan Brooks. “Each box is special. You know it is going to a family.”
Brooks said Bluewater Health approached the Strangway Centre. The hospital’s maternity ward had been using cardboard photograph cases to give to parents. Brooks said she and volunteer Jim Burgess started with two boxes using purchased wood.
Then another hobby shop volunteer added recycling to the mix. Gary Edginton knew that oak shelving from Sarnia Library’s renovation project was headed to the dumpster and stepped in.
“They were removing it from the library anyway and replacing it with other shelving,” Edginton said. “I asked if we could have it and it was just a matter of taking it out.”
Edginton stores the three-foot lengths of shelving at his home and replenishes the wood supply at the hobby shop as needed.
Brooks said it takes two days and two sections of oak to create a box. She does the building and Burgess sands and finishes the 12 x 12 inch keepsakes.
The lids are adorned with a butterfly, symbolic of a short, beautiful life.
Project volunteers have completed eight boxes for the hospital and expect they’ll need up to 15 a year.
All Season’s Trophies laser on the butterflies, the Russell Street Home Hardware provides the hardware and Circle of Stitchers, a local quilting group, makes the fabric liners.
Additional volunteers for the memory box project are welcome Brooks said. Those with carpentry skills can call 519-332-0656 or visit [email protected].