Letter to the Editor – The Sweet Pea Project

Your previous coverage of The Sweet Pea Project has helped educate families about additional support services available after they’ve experienced the unimaginable – the death of a baby. As you may recall, Sweet Pea Project is a local non-profit organization that collects blankets to donate to hospitals and birthing centers, which are lovingly wrapped around these precious babies and then given to the parents to keep as a tangible item to remember their baby by.

The holidays, in particular, can be difficult for parents who have experienced the death of an infant. This year, Sweet Pea Project will take part in Lancaster’s 4th annual Alternative Gift Fair on November 20 at Farm and Home Center located at 1383 Arcadia Rd. in Lancaster, Penna. Instead of purchasing traditional gifts, participants honor their friends and family by making meaningful donations to local and global non-profits while improving the lives of others who are not on anyone’s gift list. Sweet Pea Project is just one of thirty worthy non-profit organizations that will be at the event, in addition to family-friendly activities. For just $10, a soft blanket will be provided to a new mom to cradle her baby in for the first and only time; for $25, five copies of the book Still. will be donated to newly bereaved families; and for $50, a six-month supply of receiving blankets will be sent to a hospital to swaddle stillborn babies.

“It’s easy to get lost in the craze of the holidays and get wrapped up in the material aspects. Lancaster’s Alternative Gift Fair is a great way to teach children about giving back to their community and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Stephanie Cole, founder of Sweet Pea Project.

Since its inception in January 2009, Sweet Pea Project has donated over 2300 blankets to grieving parents around the country. The organization initially focused its efforts on Lancaster County, but it has quickly grown to offer support and services to hospitals across the U.S.

Approximately 1,003,000 pregnancies end with the death of a baby annually and 27,500 babies born alive each year die before their second birthday. Stephanie Cole refuses to just be a part of this statistic. She is the dedicated mother of Madeline Jonna, who was silently born one week after her due date. Since then, she and her husband have brought three beautiful children into the world and she founded Sweet Pea Project as a way to honor Madeline’s memory and reach out to other bereaved parents.

In June 2010, Stephanie Cole’s book, Still., was published and Sweet Pea’s Book Project was launched, donating books to hospitals, bereavement organizations and individuals across the country. For every copy of Still. sold through the Sweet Pea Project Store, one copy is donated to a newly bereaved parent.

Please contact me at Katie.Lubenow@gmail.com or 610-223-3771 if you would like additional information about Sweet Pea Project, their participation in Lancaster’s Alternative Gift Fair, or would like to arrange an interview with Stephanie.