Manitoba’s first anonymous and safe baby surrender site was officially opened on Saturday at the Landmark Fire Hall.
Sheila Braun played a key role in finding a location for Hope’s Cradle.
“I read an Instagram post that Susan Penner from Life Culture had posted, and she said that no fire station in Manitoba was willing to install a safe box for babies and infants,” Braun says. “And I was very shocked by the statement.”
Braun then approached her husband Trevor, a member of the Tache Fire Department, and he connected with Fire Chief Allan Rau who brought the topic before the council for the R.M. of Tache.
And the proposal was approved.
Braun says it was very special to have this site officially open.
“To see a dream become reality, and there were challenges along the way, and we saw many miracles, and here we are today being the second in Canada to say, ‘here is a safe location for babies to be surrendered,’ and giving both the mother and the baby a second chance.”
Although her dream has now become reality, Braun says her work is not done. She plans to stay involved in Hope’s Cradle.
“I will probably be involved in the promotional material and now reaching out to family resource centers and the hospitals and just getting the word out,” she says. “And looking to see if there's a possibility of a second cradle in Manitoba that we could begin working on.”
Provencher MP Ted Falk was one of the speakers at the opening ceremony on Saturday. He said it was fitting to have Hope’s Cradle at the centre of Canada, and hoped that more sites would soon open in other parts of the country.
“Let’s start in the centre and work our way out,” he suggested.
Falk also mentioned concerns about the federal government and its stance on promoting life for Canadians of all ages.
“You know, we currently have a government that has a culture of death, whether it's end of life or beginning of life,” Falk said. “And I'm proud to be part of the Conservative caucus which is the only caucus that allows its members to hold positions of pro-life. I was saddened last week Friday in Ottawa as I sat in my seat, and I heard an NDP MP from Winnipeg challenge the government on not fulfilling their promise of defunding crisis pregnancy centers. And I thought, ‘that is just incredibly sad that we want to take away charitable status from pro-life organizations’ like Gems for Gems, and that's something we're going to continue to fight.”
Mayor Armand Poirier was honoured to participate in the opening ceremony.
“This endeavor further defines our community,” Poirier said. “It defines us, who we are, and what we are. Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved in making this a reality. This project was made possible by loving individuals inspired to bring hope to persons experiencing overwhelming circumstances in their lives.
“I'd like to recognize the important contributions of Trevor and Sheila Braun, Susan Penner with Life Culture, Jason Kroeker with the Landmark Fire Hall, Fire Chief Allan Rau and Tache Firefighters, as well as Jordan Guildford, the foundress of Hope’s Cradle. A special thanks to the board members, staff and volunteers of Thrifty Treasures whose generosity is manifested here through their significant financial contribution, as well as the numerous other contributors, private individuals and organizations.
“Your commitments are a testimony of generosity, hope and service to our community and beyond that, will stand for years to come," Poirier added. "For anyone overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, know that we are here for you, we are standing sentinel behind this small door with open arms, tender hands, and loving hearts. Hope’s Cradle is a place for people seeking hope, support, care, compassion, and relief.”
-With files from Adi Loewen