Our mission at Riverside is to share the love and hope we have with those in our community. We have seen first hand that there is a desperate need in our community for positive support and resources for the various challenges that life brings. One of these challenges is finding hope and healing after pregnancy or infant loss.
What is a HOPE BOX?
Hope Boxes are for ANY individual or family that has lost a baby through any type of infant loss. 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and in Canada every 6 in 1000 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Many times this kind loss is very isolating, confusing, deeply personal for the mother in particular and comes with a lack of resources to help with the “grieving process”. Unfortunately, in the North, medical follow-up and counseling are not often offered and there is a lack of monitoring for postpartum depression, which can occur even with early miscarriage. With a lack of support many families, and women in particular struggle with feeling ashamed and alone. As a family we have experienced this loss first hand and have five precious children waiting for us in Heaven. Acknowledging the life of a child, as short as it may have been, is tremendously helpful in the healing process and finding Hope!
Hope Boxes are beautifully filled decorative boxes with items of Hope – a lovely easy to read version of the Bible which includes a list of verses that have been pre-highlighted, book on infant loss that walks through the grieving process, journal, pen, notecards, candle, footprint pin, lotion/soap, brochure on miscarriage/infant loss, resource list (includes resources for dad’s and how to talk about the loss of a sibling), local resources, websites and online groups, blanket and handprint/footprint cards, etc…We want the women who receive the box to feel loved, cared for and encouraged. We include information about www.hopemommies.org (where we got the Hope Box idea).
We have connected with various local agencies (Kirkland Lake & Englehart Family Health Team, local Funeral Home, Temiskaming & Kirkland District Hospital, Timmins & District Hospital, all Centre De Sante sites and various clinics) in order to have the boxes distributed to those who need them. We appreciate all of the tremendous support from these community connections.
“I am not sure how to express my heartfelt appreciation in receiving a Hope Box from you. These past few months since the loss of our baby have been emotionally difficult. Upon receiving our Hope Box from you, my husband and I were overcome with sincere gratitude. Many emotions followed as we read and looked through everything. This box now sits on my bedside table and it has brought me a sense of peace. Our little angel will always be a part of us, our family and now I feel you are too. What you are doing is a true blessing to all of us Mommy’s and Daddy’s who are going through this heartbreaking and emotionally difficult time in our lives. Thank you from my heart. “
Hope Boxes began out of a desire to bring support and encouragement to families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. Pastor Pete and Jenita Naylor have five babies waiting for them in Heaven. Their experience of loss led them to look for a practical way to help a family in their church who had experienced the loss of a baby. When exploring ideas for practical support they found Hope Mommies™ out of Texas, USA. They create Hope Boxes and were very helpful in us creating our own. One box was made for this local family and this led a small group of women at Riverside to suggest making more Hope Boxes.
In September 2013 Hope Boxes began with prayer and a goal of 10 boxes. Within a month the group had funds to create 20 boxes and Hope Boxes was born. The Hope Box team in Northern Ontario now has three dedicated members, wide range community and church support, and as of Fall 2016, boxes in three hospitals, two funeral homes, and seven clinics. They give on average one hundred boxes out a year. We are willing to ship boxes outside of the area should a request be made, and are happy to connect you to one of our team locations across the country, as well.
NOTE: We also have boxes for child loss and perinatal hospice (when your baby is given a terminal diagnosis during pregnancy).
Hope Boxes team
Garden of Hope
The Hope Box team has been looking for a way to continue to support local families and the idea of a Garden of Hope was developed. The Garden of Hope will be a place of reflection, celebration and relaxation. A beautiful location to remember and find peace. The garden will take shape on the Riverside Community Church property and is open to the public. The garden is a long term goal that will grow each year. If you would like to give specifically towards the garden please feel free to contact us for our “wish list”. Donations may be made in memory of a family.
If a family at any time would like to place a memorial stone to celebrate the life of a child we have a basket of stones available at no cost, and the family may have their own time in the Garden if they wish.
We offer resources for those who’ve gone through infant loss or misscarriage, or for those who are close to them. Simply fill out the provided contact form, and we will send a PDF document of resources to you by email. For a list of helpful links, open the text area below.
Hope Box Locations
Riverside Community Churh
Cornerstone Wesleyan Church
Centennial Road Standard Church
Greenwood Baptist Church
Yarmouth Wesleyan Church
Whitewater Wesleyan Community Church
Roblin Wesleyan Church
Bancroft Pregnancy Care Centre
New Hope Christian Wesleyan Church
Dundalk Wesleyan Church
Kingston Standard Church
Anchor of Hope Preganacy Centre
Riverside Community Church
30 Grenfell Ave, Swastika ON
yarmouth wesleyan church
70 Haley Rd, Yarmouth NS
Box 84 3100 County Rd 41, Roblin ON
Bancroft pregnancy care centre
35 Shelbourne St N, Bancroft ON
Dundalk wesleyan church
752202 Ida St. Dundalk ON
kingston Standard Church
1185 Sunnyside Rd. Kingston ON
Rachel Van den Heuvel 1-519-532-5978
Elisha Kroeker 1 519-320-1991
Orillia Orillia Pregnancy Resource Centre 79 Colborne St E, Orillia, ON http://www.prcorillia.ca
Sturgeon Falls Pentecostal Church
Beverly Courchesne, Coordinator
We often hold a Celebration of Hope Service on October 15th as part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This service is for anyone who has experienced the loss of a child including extended family. The hope is that this event will be a time to acknowledge and celebrate the life of the child who is waiting in Heaven, and an opportunity for families to share the loss they feel so deeply with others who can relate.
Help Support the Hope Box Program
Each box costs $50 to complete. Would you, your church, your small group, women’s group, even your family consider sponsoring a box and giving HOPE to a family in need? If you’d like to give a box in honour of someone please specify on your donation. All donations go through Riverside Community Church, designated Hope Boxes, and are tax deductible.