Welcome to the Sweet Pea Project's Blog, part of the Sweet Pea Project's effort to create a supportive and compassionate community for those of us affected by the death of a child. Here you will find updates on the Sweet Pea Project, as well as anything going on in the world that relates to childloss. If you have a suggestion for a topic you would like to see discussed here, I'd love to hear it. Please make sure you stop by the official website, www.sweetpeaproject.org and feel free to email me for any reason at anytime at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.
peace, Stephanie Cole (Madeline's Mom)

Friday, August 12, 2011

2nd Annual Remembrance Gathering Invitation

Last year, on a mild October evening at the end of a rainy day, over two hundred people gathered together in a grassy field to pause for a few moments and remember the children that all too briefly graced our lives. The only sound was the beautiful music of a gently played guitar and the names of our children being said aloud, one by one. We stood together and looked up at the sky, watching as green balloon after green balloon rose up into the air, passed through a patch of amazing yellow light that illuminated the treetops and disappeared into the distance. Each balloon quietly carried with it a note written on seed paper for a deeply loved and desperately missed little child, and later that evening when the balloons burst, the letters drifted back down to the ground where they were reclaimed by the earth. Eventually wildflowers would sprout from these love letters to our children.

Sweet Pea Project will be holding this event again this year on October 15th, National Remembrance Day for families who have experienced the death of a baby. Just as we did last year, precautions are being taken to make sure that this is an eco-friendly event. We are using only sap-based biodegradable balloons, vegetable dyed raffia and compostable seed paper.

Sweet Pea Project would like to invite you to join us for our 2nd Annual Remembrance Gathering at Long's Park in Lancaster, PA, on Saturday, October 15th at 6pm. Please be sure to arrive between 5-5:30pm to pick up your balloons and seed paper and write notes to insert in your balloons before inflation. This family friendly event is free, but registration is requested. If you would like to attend please email Nicole@sweetpeaproject.org with the following information by October 1:

1. The name of the child(ren) you are remembering
2. The number of balloons your family will need
*Please note: Each guest may receive one balloon per child remembered. For example, if your family of 4 is remembering twins you may request 8 balloons.

Sean Cox & Company will provide quiet instrumentals and Grace Photos has volunteered to capture the beauty of the evening in photographs. This year's sponsors include Spacht Funeral Home, Baby's Silkie, Charles F Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, Darrenkamps and Herman & Susan Zeager.

Several other Sweet Pea Project affiliated Remembrance Gatherings will be happening across the country on the same day, if you can't make it to our official gathering in Pennsylvania perhaps you can attend one somewhere else. All affiliated gatherings are listed at the bottom of our event page and fliers for each gathering may be viewed in our facebook album: Sweet Pea Project affiliated Remembrance Gatherings 2011.

Please take a minute to visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/remember for more details and to view a video from last year's event. I hope you will join us, either at Long's Park or in spirit, as we stop to remember the little ones whose tiny footprints have made such lasting marks on our hearts.

Please feel free to share this flier with anyone who may be interested. Everyone is welcome.

Click on the image to enlarge

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sweet Pea Project's Family Fun Night at Friendly's

Sweet Pea Project will be hosting a Family Fun Night at the Friendly's on Oregon Pike in Lancaster on Tuesday, September 27 from 5pm until 8pm. A portion of all sales from that evening benefit Sweet Pea Project, so bring your family and friends and come enjoy delicious food for an important cause. Don't forget to print the flier below or mention us to your server! Thanks so much, hope to see you there!

click on the image to enlarge

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sweet Pea Project Granted 501(c)3 Status

Sweet Pea Project Granted 501(c)3 Status!

Sweet Pea Project has been granted official 501(c)3 tax exempt status with a public charity classification by the United States Internal Revenue Service. The approval was received in June 2011, but is retroactive to August 2010. This means that any past donations you may have made to Sweet Pea Project from August 2010 until today, and any donations you make to us in the future are tax deductible.

Sweet Pea Project, which is based out of Lancaster County, PA, provides comfort, support and gentle guidance to families who have experienced the death of a child during pregnancy or infancy. Sweet Pea Project blankets are shipped to hospitals across the country so that parents who lose a baby before, during or shortly after birth are given a soft blanket to cradle their child in and remember their child by. To date, Sweet Pea Project has donated over 2,200 blankets. The organization also donates copies of a book written by Sweet Pea Project founder Stephanie Paige Cole entitled Still: a collection of honest artwork and writings from the heart of a grieving mother. It is Cole's hope that the book will help with the isolation many parents feel during the dark days of grief following the death of their child. Additionally, Sweet Pea Project reaches out to the bereaved families in our community by holding several free events each year. Their Annual Remembrance Gathering is open to anyone who has lost a child at any age and is held on October 15th at Long's Park in Lancaster, PA. A Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic was added to the event calendar this year, and offered children who have lost a brother or sister an afternoon to simply play in sunshine with their families and be carefree. Other events include internationally renowned guest speakers.

Sweet Pea Project began in January 2009 and became a full fledged nonprofit organization in August 2010. Founding board members include Stephanie Cole, Richard Cole, Beth Gauthier, Nicole Jackson and Simone Lee. For more information on this organization and the ways in which it strives to help our community, please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org or contact Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org.