Mayor’s Wife Strives to Bring a Joyful Welcome to Newborns
By Tori La Rue | firstname.lastname@example.org
West Jordan - When Joye Rolfe heard that many mothers head home from the hospital without blankets, clothes, diapers and other necessities for their newborns, she knew she could do something to help.
“I love babies, and I just thought that I could at least do something to help out the babies from my city, the city of West Jordan,” she said.
Rolfe, wife of Mayor Kim Rolfe, started her own nonprofit organization called Joyful Welcome. It’s purpose is to give layettes (gift packages) to new moms who are in need.
Each layette contains diapers, onesies, wipes, socks, burp cloths, a blanket, a stuffed animal and a beanie. According to Tonya Neilson, nonprofit treasurer, the retail value of each layette is around $38, but because of community donations, the actual cost is around $9.
Each month Rolfe takes 28 packaged layettes to the Jordan Valley Medical Center in West Jordan, and after talking with patients, nurses determine which mothers may need a helpful start. The nonprofit has helped over 200 mothers since its beginning in 2014.
“I never hear a response from the moms, but I know that the layettes are needed because the hospital runs out every month,” Rolfe said. “I’d like to do even more.”
If the program continues to receive donations, Rolfe said she may start expanding to other hospitals, starting with the Jordan Medical Center in West Valley. Rolfe said that now is not the time because it’s already so time- consuming to keep the West Jordan hospital supplied.
When the nonprofit began, Rolfe said there were only three people who ran the nonprofit. It expanded by word of mouth to include four members on the board of directors, 10 in the board of trustees and donors across the city.
Kathy Edwards, on the board of directors, said members of both boards put in 20 to 30 hours of work each week to keep the nonprofit running. She said none of these people make a cent from the nonprofit, because 100 percent of the proceeds go to creating the layettes.
Copper Hills High School was one of the leading contributors last year, Rolfe said. The school raised $1,000 for the cause, and students put together layettes during a service project. Numerous churches and other community groups donated as well.
Sometimes the donations come unexpectedly. An anonymous donor left 100 hand-made beanies on one of the trustee’s doorstep.
Recently, the nonprofit has started promoting Smith’s Community Rewards, an extension of the grocery store’s rewards program. When rewards program members join community rewards, they are invited to choose a charity to benefit from their shopping. Smith’s then matches the member’s reward points and gives them to the charity.
Edwards said since people have chosen Joyful Welcome as their preferred charity, it’s been one of the best sources of funds because the points can trickle in continually, which they use to purchase items for the layettes. The nonprofit also accepts donations on their website through PayPal.
Joyful Welcome’s Hocus Pocus 5K and Stroller Roll and concurrent silent auction at Jordan Landing in October brought in the greatest amount of donations of any event they’ve done so far. They started planning the race and auction two months before it occurred, which was a tight squeeze, but they pulled it together.
Businesses from Jordan Landing donated gift cards and other items for the auction. Community members made baskets and donated services.
Joyful Welcome board members realized how hard it was to plan an extravagant event in a short amount of time, so this year they’ve already started the plans for their next 5K and Stroller Roll this October.
Visit www.joyfulwelcome.org for more information.