The DuPage County Sheriff's Office has begun planting and tending to Hope's Garden, a memorial that will honor an abandoned baby and provide fresh food to people in need.
The garden is a collaboration between the sheriff's office and Winfield Township Highway Commissioner John Dusza. Dusza facilitated the donation of land for the garden at the Winfield Township Highway Department, 30W575 Roosevelt Road, West Chicago.
Hope's Garden was planted, and will be maintained, by sentenced offenders from the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program. The sheriff's office will donate all produce grown in the garden to local food pantries, providing fresh, healthy food for community members in need.
The garden is named for Baby Hope, an infant found last August in a backpack along a remote, wooded road near Wheaton. While authorities continue looking for her parents, Hope's death has brought renewed attention to Illinois' Safe Haven Law, which designates hospitals, and police and fire stations as places where parents in crisis can legally relinquish their babies in the first 30 days without fear of prosecution.
"We are honored and privileged to be able to keep Baby Hope's memory alive through her garden," Undersheriff Frank Bibbiano said at the garden planting. "Baby Hope and her legacy won't be marred by her death, but instead will be positive and life changing to others in need."
The sheriff's office asks anyone with information about Baby Hope's death or the identity of her parents to contact Sheriff's Office investigators at (630) 407-2400. Information and photos can be seen on the department's Facebook page, facebook.com/dupagesheriff.
The DuPage County Sheriff's Office is a safe haven and directs those who are pregnant and in need of assistance to these online resources:
• Save Abandoned Babies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing newborns from being abandoned in unsafe environments. Resources for birth mothers can be found online at SaveAbandonedBabies.org.
• The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services offers information about the state's Safe Haven Law on its website, illinois.gov/dcfs/, under the Safe Kids tab.