Continuing to comfort those experiencing infant and pregnancy loss, Footprints on the Heart captured TurnKey Writing Solutions’ Nonprofit of the Month Award for July.
“When we received the email that Footprints on the Heart had been selected as TurnKey Writing Solutions’ July Nonprofit of the Month Award recipient, we were immediately thankful for such an amazing opportunity,” said Bartow County resident Khristie Staines, co-founder of FOTH. “While we are definitely grateful for the $100 unrestricted grant that they are providing and we are thankful for them sharing about our ministry on their social media platforms and in their e-newsletters, that isn’t even the biggest of blessings in my opinion. In my opinion perhaps the biggest blessing is that because of being selected, pregnancy and infant loss (PAIL) awareness and education is being shared.”
FOTH, which became a nonprofit in 2016, initially took shape following the stillborn delivery of Staines’ granddaughter in February 2011.
“PAIL is still such a taboo topic,” she said. “By being selected as July’s Nonprofit of the Month, literally thousands of people will at least be exposed to the fact that babies die every day. PAIL affects 1 in 4 women. According to data published by the Star Legacy Foundation, in 2017 there were 22,827 stillbirths in the United States — at a stillbirth rate of 5.9% — for babies 20 weeks of gestation or more.
“In Georgia, there were 1,045 stillbirths in 2017 at a stillbirth rate of 8%. This does not even take into account losses that occurred before 20 weeks gestation. I can personally tell you from experience that we have served many families before that 20-week mark. Those losses are as equally devastating to a family as a full-term loss or a loss in the first year of life.”
To recognize the extraordinary work of American nonprofits, TurnKey Writing Solutions kicked off the Nonprofit of the Month awards in January. Each month, nonprofits are nominated by the public, then the organizations’ officials are interviewed and a winner is selected by TurnKey’s award committee.
Based in Cartersville, the company provides grant writing subscriptions to nonprofits.
“After almost three years of working with nonprofits across the country with various missions, we wanted to shine a light on nonprofits all over the U.S. who are doing amazing work in their communities,” said Melanie Lambert, founder and managing director of TurnKey Writing Solutions. “We thought this would be a fantastic way to allow individuals to nominate nonprofits, connect them with our network, highlight their work and share ways people can get involved.
“Our ultimate mission with this program is to connect new people with these nonprofits all over the U.S. in hopes that people feel inspired to support their work through donations, volunteering or advocacy.”
Along with Footprints on the Heart, other Nonprofit of the Month recipients include the Capper Foundation in January; Latin American Association, February; Zonta Club of Fort Collins, Colorado, March; Paws of Honor, May; and The Center for Chronic Illness, June.
“As a Bartow County resident and small business owner, I welcome any chance to highlight the work of a nonprofit in my hometown, especially since we have such a philanthropic community,” Lambert said. “Our nonprofits, government agencies and businesses work so well together for the benefit of everyone in our county, and I think anytime a nonprofit is recognized is a testament to those partnerships and the truly generous nature of so many people in Bartow County.
“Footprints on the Heart was nominated along with other nonprofits from across the U.S. While all of those organizations are worthy of recognition, being able to shine a light on Footprints on the Heart this month has been a highlight of this award program for me personally.”
Since 2011, Staines noted Footprints on the Heart has expanded its reach and is now providing various types of assistance to families experiencing the “unimaginable loss of a baby” in the first two years of his or her life. Initially, the nonprofit primarily organized numerous events for area families to connect and pay tribute to their loved ones.
“The free services we now offer include peer support, remembrance photography, memory making, infant burial gowns/blankets, H.O.P.E. Boxes, assistance with funeral planning/services, along with participating in and hosting various community events,” Staines said. “It is our honor to capture moments and preserve memories with the families we are blessed to walk alongside. We have spent nine years building a network of resources to help us meet the needs of those in our community and we are continually fundraising, so this grant from TurnKey is such a blessing.
“Many people may think that $100 isn’t a big deal, but for our ministry with $100 we can purchase any one of the following: 20 pieces of memorial keepsake jewelry, thanks to amazing partnerships with Held Your Whole Life and Crystal Impressions by Crystal Amber; 20 empty H.O.P.E. boxes; 100 hand/foot print molds; or a host of other bereavement materials. With some of the grief book titles costing as much as $20 each, we know that every little bit helps.”
On TurnKey’s website, FOTH’s page features information about the nonprofit and an image of Ashley Campbell holding her late son, Caeman, in the hospital as her husband, Wesley, lovingly looks on. The photograph, taken moments after Caeman was delivered stillborn, is one of many ways Footprints on the Heart has supported this Dalton family.
“Footprints on the Heart came into our lives on Oct. 16, 2019, at a life-changing event — the birth of our son, Caeman Emerson Campbell,” Mrs. Campbell said. “Caeman was born still — and yes we knew he would be before delivery. Our doctor asked us if we would like them [FOTH] to come and be there for support after delivery.
“At first, we were hesitant because we knew nothing of this blessing from heaven ministry. We are so grateful that we decided for them to come. By the time I got out of the operating room — I had a C-section — they were already there.”
With FOTH’s assistance, Mrs. Campbell shared she and her husband were able to preserve precious moments with their son.
“From holding him, bathing him, my husband getting to change his first — and only — poop diaper and getting to keep our sweet boy with us in our room so we could have some much more needed time with him,” she said. “The tons and tons of pictures they took and gave to us will forever be cherished.
“They have stayed with us from the birth of Caeman, through the funeral and are still walking with us through this new journey we are on with our sweet rainbow baby, our baby girl Camryn. Currently I am 30 weeks pregnant after loss. I feel like they have become more like family and we are so thankful God put them in our lives at the time he did, given the circumstances.”
For more information about TurnKey’s Nonprofit of the Month awards or to nominate an organization for August’s contest, visit www.turnkeywritingsolutions.com. Nominations for August’s and September’s competitions will wrap up Wednesday and Sept. 2, respectively. The individuals who nominate the winning nonprofits receive a $15 Amazon gift card.
Further information about Footprints on the Heart can be obtained online at www.facebook.com/footprintsontheheart.ga.