Each month, Collin County Moms Blog features a local non-profit organization that assists moms and/or families in need. We love the opportunity to spotlight how local families can help out through volunteering, donating time or money and more, right in our own community. We try to pick organizations that our contributors know and volunteer for personally, and are eager to share the needs of our friends and neighbors throughout Collin County.
There are non-profits to get involved with because you’re interested in what they do—you want to help; you care about that group’s particular goal. And then there are non-profits who personally helped you at at your lowest point, and you realize it’s now time to give back/pay it forward/do more. I came to know Mended Little Hearts Dallas when my newborn daughter was in the cardiac ICU down at Children’s Dallas in May 2015. Despite having a critical congenital heart defect (CHD), my daughter was stable, but I was not doing so well. It was Mother’s Day and there I was, sitting in a NICU break room, eating cold chicken nuggets, and feeling sorry for myself. But when I got back to my daughter’s room, I saw that someone had left a Mother’s Day poem and a Bravery Bag, which was filled with all kinds of toiletries, a notebook, pen, and more. They were things that filled a need, items I hadn’t thought to bring along. I felt a little lighter and less alone, and decided to stop feeling so much self-pity because I knew others had gone before me, and that I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was.
Mended Little Hearts, a support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, is dedicated to inspiring hope in those who care for the littlest heart patients of all. Mended Little Hearts offers resources and a caring support network as families find answers and move forward to find healing and hope.
The Dallas chapter of Mended Little Hearts was started by parents of children with CHD and adults with CHD in November 2011. The main goal of Mended Little Hearts Dallas is to provide support and encouragement to families whose children go through the heart center at Children’s Dallas. The current coordinators are three heart moms whose children have CHD and one adult CHD survivor.
Almost every month, you can find activities and events with which you can get involved. February is a big month for MLH, as it’s not only American Heart Month, but CHD Awareness Week is Feb 7-14 this year, as well. “Treats from the Heart” is a buffet at Children’s heart center in February, where local bakeries and restaurants donate treats and sweets for the hospital staff and families whose children are in the cardiac ICU. Mended Little Hearts Dallas also participates in the Children’s heart center picnic each April, as well as the Red Balloon Run & Ride. Camp Moss, a heart warrior camp each summer, is where MLH Dallas provides lunch for campers and staff before they depart for Bosque County. Rounding out the year is an annual pumpkin patch picnic, with free pumpkins for heart kiddos! Additionally, on the second Tuesday of every month, a monthly support group meets at Children’s Dallas, where a meal is provided for families touched by CHD, as well as a guest speaker or an activity at each Tuesday meeting.
Mended Little Hearts Dallas, through donations and volunteers, puts together Bravery Bags (a package of comfort and care toiletries and items for first-time families in the ICU), Angel Boxes (in which they help Children’s put together a box for parents who have lost a child to CHD, including a candle, picture frame, charm, and more) and Prenatal Kits (including information on the heart center, comfort items like cozy socks, among other things) year-round.
If you’d like to contribute, Mended Little Hearts Dallas always welcomes individuals or groups who’d like to donate funds or items for the Bravery Bags, Angel Boxes, and Prenatal Kits. As someone who was a recipient of a Bravery Bag, I can tell you that it makes a difference. So many moms arrive at Children’s just having given birth to a baby who has a critical CHD; they are in shock and have had no time to prepare for a lengthy stay at the cardiac ICU. There are so many things for them to worry about, so let’s make sure that these precious parents have one less thing to think about while their heart warriors are at Children’s.
Current needs for Bravery Bags:
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Deodorant (men’s and women’s)
$5 or $10 Starbucks gift cards
Single-use laundry detergent
Crossword puzzle books
Big/soft blankets for parents
Walmart or Target gift cards
Visit Mended Little Heart Dallas website, social media or email to get connected and make a difference for CHD warriors right here in DFW: