As some of you may know, recently Amelia and Joe Kowalisyn became proud parents. Their son, Alex, is a precious little boy that brings them boundless amounts of joys and happiness. Parenthood suits them, and they are embracing the change.
It was a bittersweet change for the new family, however, as Alex had a twin sister named Emma. The babies were born premature and Emma passed away after three weeks. She suffered a rare stroke before birth and Amelia and Joe stayed by her and Alex's side the entire time. Read the full story about Emma Rose here.
During their time with the babies in the NICU, Amelia and Joe received care packages with essentials that one doesn't think to grab in situations like these. Parents don't generally think about grabbing toiletries when their children are sick or hurt in the hospital. There are more important things on their minds. And this is what Joe and Amelia experienced. Not wanting to leave their babies, the didn't leave to grab food or grab a book to read while they waited. What surprised and deeply affected them was that people sent all of the necessities to them. Care packages with items like water, snacks, magazines, blankets, encouraging notes, and more were sent to the couple so they could be with the twins and still take care of themselves.
Now, Amelia and Joe are paying forward with Emma's Footprints, a nonprofit organization that provides support for parents with preemie babies. Care packages are created with essentials like snacks, bottles of water, gift cards, children's books, blankets, games for the parents, toiletries, and baked goods. They are given to different NICUs in the area and parents get a little help and a little hope in knowing that they aren't alone in their situations.
During the month of February, Culver's of Valparaiso is helping to support the new nonprofit by accepting donations for Emma's Footprints through the Legacy Foundation as well as for Riley Children's Hospital. Guests can come in anytime throughout the month and enjoy the great food at Culver's and support a great cause at the same time.
"I am very overwhelmed and touched by all the work that Amelia has done,"Wendy Gates, Owner of the Valparaiso and Schererville Culver's restaurants said. "It's wonderful to see someone so involved."
When Wendy found out about the nonprofit she reached out to Amelia and suggested they team up for the month of February. Every month Culver's supports a different charity, and Wendy saw this as a wonderful opportunity.
"We've already sold over 300 bracelets," Amelia said. "We are so thankful that Culver's is doing this with us."
During the month of February guests will be able to purchase donation cards for $1 as well as purple bracelets that sport the Emma's Footprints name and logo for $1. The cards will be displayed throughout the restaurant and guests can show their support wherever they go by wearing the bracelets. Donation jars will also be set up in the restaurant for those who wish to donate that way. Funds generated will go to providing care packages for NICU parents and to continue to raise money for Riley Children's Hospital.
On Saturday February 14, Culver's will be having a Valentines's Day celebration in honor of Emma. All day guests can come in and help honor this sweet girl's memory. A donation wheel can be spun for $1 to win great prizes, wristbands and donation cards will be available, and Amelia, Joe, and little baby Alex will be making appearances that day. 10% of the day's sales will go to Emma's Footprints through the Legacy Foundation as well as to Riley Children's Hospital.
So don't miss your chance to support If you would like to donate items for the NICU care packages or find out more information, please contact Amelia through the Emma's Footprints Facebook page.