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Glory Baby Ministry



Jessica and Josh Heffinger, Founders

By Emily Robertson

Glory Baby Ministry, like so many nonprofits in Bowling Green, grew out of a very personal experience for founder Jessica Heffinger. In 2010, at 21 weeks pregnant, Heffinger, along with her husband, went for her anatomy scan ultrasound. It was at that appointment that her doctor told her that her baby no longer had a heart beat.

“I kept questioning things ‘Why me? Heffinger wondered. “Why us? Did I do something wrong? Did I lay the wrong way when I slept? Did I eat something that I shouldn’t have? Did I lift something too heavy?”

Heffinger went on to be induced and gave birth to her daughter, Riley Marie, who was stillborn. She remembers after giving birth, the medical staff handed Riley to her in a bloody, soiled blanket. Because of that experience, she wanted to help make sure that other families would have a different experience. After locating an organization in Owensboro called God’s Littlest Angels that used donated wedding dresses to create beautiful burial gowns for stillborn babies and infant loss, Heffinger began to collect gowns for the group.

“In the fall of 2016, one of the ladies that helps run the ministry asked if I wanted to start my own organization,” Heffinger says. “I was hesitant, but after praying with my husband for six months about it, we felt called to create a ministry here.”

Glory Baby Ministry officially began in Bowling Green in 2017 with a mission to comfort grieving families, both locally and across the nation, by providing burial gowns and memorial packages for a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at no charge to families.

Through starting the ministry, Heffinger learned that miscarriage and infant loss are much more prevalent than most people think. According to Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support, 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage and 1 in 135 births end in stillbirth.

“After we experienced losing Riley Marie, we started receiving messages and phone calls from friends that went through similar situations,” Heffinger says. “I had no clue and they had never talked about it. Why was there such stigma surrounding talking about miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss?”

Currently, many local families find out about Glory Baby Ministry and their services by word of mouth. Heffinger and other volunteers spend a lot of time speaking at events and with local media just to help spread the word that the organization exists.

“Since we are a word-of-mouth ministry, there are tons of families that go through a loss without even knowing about our ministry or other infant loss resources,” Heffinger says. “There are months we don’t receive any messages or calls, but then there are times we receive three or more requests in one week. The weeks that go by when we don’t receive any requests are the hardest on me because my mind begins to worry about who had a loss this week that is walking through the experience alone. It seems like it is a daily task for myself and other volunteers to continue to get word out about the organization.”

Glory Baby Ministry is completely volunteer-based, with no paid staff. The organization does not charge families for services, which means the group’s volunteer base is essential to its success. The group is always looking for experienced seamstresses to make the burial gowns and experienced quilters to make keepsake blankets for the parents. Currently, the group is in need of an experienced grant writer to donate their time to the organization.

“Each of our volunteers have such a heart for what we do and spend many hours helping with no pay,” Heffinger says. “From our seamstresses that make our gowns, to our quilters and individuals that crochet, to our behind-the-scenes volunteers, we have close to 40 volunteers that help our organization run smoothly.”

Glory Baby Ministry is funded only by monetary donations and receives no grants or state funds. The cost to ship a single burial gown package can be between $65 to $85, so funds raised by the organization are vital to the organization’s success. To raise money for their work, the Glory Baby Ministry received donations from Lil’ Angels Attic in the past and has several fundraisers throughout the year: Money Mayhem, which is a Facebook Live event that takes place in May and June where individuals can donate money and help let others know about the organization; proceeds from tickets sales for Glory Baby Ministry Night at Bowling Green Ballpark, which will take place on July 26th, 2019 and the 3rd Annual Auction where people from all over the United States can bid on different baskets and items, with all proceeds going towards Glory Baby Ministry.

As more people find Glory Baby Ministry, the organization continues to grow each year. Just a few months ago, with the help of donated time and labor from The Firemen Moving Company, Glory Baby Ministry moved out of the Heffinger’s home, where it operated since it’s beginning, and into office space. Volunteer Edith Schmucker couldn’t be happier to see the organization growing in Bowling Green to help more families.

“We saw a need for loving supportive care for families of infant loss that wasn’t being filled because there weren’t many organizations geared toward this kind of work,” Schmucker said. “I see the community as a vast sea of opportunity. I love it when I can tell others about what we do and how we can make a difference.”

If you or someone you know is interested in the work Glory Baby Ministry does or are interested in volunteering in any capacity, go to glorybabyministry.org, check out their Facebook page or call/text (502) 324-5074.

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