There is a lot of reimagination occurring throughout businesses and organizations as the impacts of the pandemic continue.
One local nonprofit organization in Little Rock, Mamie’s Poppy Plate, is reimagining how it is planning its largest annual fundraising event in effort to continue their mission to support grieving parents who have experienced stillbirth or infant death.
Since 2010, Mamie’s Poppy Plates has provided personalized plates with the footprints, name and birth information at no cost to these individuals thanks to generous donations. It has grown to serve 17 states and 76 hospitals. The organization was founded by sisters, Sarah Bussey Adams and Brittney Spees, after Adams delivered her first child, Mamie, stillborn two weeks before her due date in 2009. Today, the organization serves 17 states and 76 hospitals.
Each year since 2013 on the weekend of Mother’s Day in May, Mamie’s Poppy Plates has hosted an annual event to raise awareness and honor the lost babies and children.
Last year, the organization hosted “Mamie’s Poppy Party” at War Memorial with a walk to remember the lives of the lost loved ones and an after-party with food, drinks, live entertainment and activities for kids.
With public health restrictions and concerns due to COVID-19 this year though, Adams and Spees had to reimagine how to host the annual event.
“Although we have some who drive a distance to come to the event, most are locals who come with their families and friends for a remembrance celebration,” Spees says. “It is a community event where people come together and are close to each other, so we knew we couldn’t host it like usual.”
“We also wanted the opportunity to do something different and so we decided to launch Mamie’s Poppy Party Reimagined which will be a virtual event on Father’s Day,” says Adams. “We started the social media campaign #DadsGrieveToo to honor dads and father figures who experience loss while raising funds to further our organization’s mission.”
Individuals and families across the country can walk a mile anywhere at any time on Father’s Day to recognize their baby or child.
“You can form a team and fundraise in memory of your child, register as a virtual walker or make a general donation to support our organization,” Spees says. “For every $50 raised, that’s a Poppy Plate that we can provide to a grieving individual or family. Our goal is to reach $120,000.”
As of June 17, $73,706 has been raised. On Father’s Day, June 21, Mamie’s Poppy Plates is asking that participants post about their walks with #DadsGrieveToo and #MamiesMemoryWalk on social media to see the community of those who have lost a baby or child too soon.
“We hopefully want to release a map of the United States where all our participants walked and who they walked in memory for,” says Spees. “This will not only be a visual to see where the organization serves, but also the widespread experience of infant and child loss.”
Both Adams and Spees are also reimagining how the organization will look in the future as it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
“We had lots of things in the works that came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic, but it has given us the time to reimagine how to operate and grow our mission in the new world after pandemic,” says Spees.