Bundles of Joy
photo courtesy Meredith Volle
See a need. Take action. That's what Dr. Meredith Havey Volle did when she realized that many low-income parents lack resources for clothing for their newborns. As a new mother, she saw firsthand the disparity among families. As an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine specializing in pediatric primary care, she knows that lack of newborn clothing is a stressor for parents, leads to temperature and hygiene concerns for infants and, in the worst cases, can prompt allegations of neglect for those struggling through poverty. To address this need, Bundles of Joy was born.

Volle started distributing newborn clothing in 2016. In 2017 she and her extended family established the Ann T. Havey Foundation, with Bundles of Joy the foundation's main project. Ann Havey lived to the age of 99 and raised her large family in Springfield. She instilled a joy for giving among her eight children and 16 grandchildren by always helping others.

To date approximately 700 baby bundles have been given out. Each baby bundle includes a bright yellow diaper bag filled with 10 items of newborn or preemie clothing – onesies, sleeper, three-piece outfit, socks and hat – along with a handmade baby blanket from Project Linus, books from Word Up and information to help new parents. Bundles of Joy are distributed through Springfield Memorial Hospital, HSHS St. John's Hospital and the NICU, SIU Medicine, Central Counties Health Centers, The Parent Place, Mini O'Beirne Crisis Nursery and both hospitals and the SIU Pediatrics Clinic in Decatur. All items are new, and each bundle costs approximately $30.

Volunteers help sort and package items at bundle parties. Others help by shopping for newborn clothes. To learn more and how to help, go to annthaveyfoundation.com.  

About The Author

Karen Ackerman Witter

Karen Ackerman Witter started freelance writing after a 35-year career in state government holding various senior leadership positions. Prior to retiring she was associate director of the Illinois State Museum for 14 years. She is the past president of the Kidzeum Board of Directors and is an active volunteer...

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