Clothes, blankets and developmental aids are available for premature babies thanks to Molly's Closet. The closet project was started by Jill Mulford of Winthrop, in honor of her daughter.
Molly was one of six adopted children. She died in 2004. Molly was born without the upper portion of her brain, and doctors initially only gave her a few weeks to live.
"God let us love her for six years. After she died, we decided to take the memorial money so her spirit could live one," said Jill Mulford.
Molly's Closet is available at three hospitals in the area: Covenant Medical Center and Allen Hospital in Waterloo and St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids.
"Molly's Closet is something we use all day, every day for the kids," said NICU Nurse Manager Tricia Spading.
The babies get use of anything in the closet. When the baby gets to go home, the items are laundered and used for the next premature baby.
Mulford said giving the parents one less thing to worry about is the main point of Molly's Closet.
"When they see the baby and all the equipment they get overwhelmed and forget there's a baby there so when we put the clothes on, all of a sudden they stop focusing on the equipment and start focusing on their baby," said Mulford.
The closets are supplied solely through donations.
"I don't know what we'd be without it. I think every NICU unit should have something like Molly's Closet," said Spading.
Expanding is exactly Jill Mulford's long-term goal. Eventually, she wants a Molly's Closet in every NICU in the nation. In the shorter-term, she hopes to expand across Iowa.
She thinks Molly would be happy with the project done in her name.
"I think she'd be really excited. Some little girl who never spoke a word has touched so many lives," said Mulford.
If you'd like to make a donation to Molly's Closet, just contacting one of the three participating hospitals and ask for the NICU.
Covenant Medical Center (Waterloo): (319) 272-8000
Allen Hospital (Waterloo): (319) 235-3544
St. Luke's Hospital (Cedar Rapids): (319) 369-7105