The Des Moines Woodworkers Association always looks for ways to help others, and we’re probably not alone when it comes to woodworkers. One cause that’s allowed our members to put their skills to work involves the Precious Angels organization.
Precious Angles started about 30 years ago to help parents whose premature or newborn children have died. When the 2-lb daughter of the group’s founder died, she discovered there were no sources of infant burial clothes and many families in need lacked the resources for an infant-sized casket. So she and the group’s volunteers sew tiny outfits, blankets, and accessories. Volunteer woodworkers make infant-sized caskets—more than 360 of which were sent out last year.
The task sounds pretty grim, but making caskets became a way for DMWA members to work together in groups and turn scraps into something more valuable than just cutting boards. Last year, DMWA members built more than 160 caskets like the one shown here, many from plans drawn up by our own Jeff Mertz and offered at the group’s Web site. (Go to “plans” under “support menu” for a PDF.)
So check out the Precious Angels Web site, ask them about offering to make wooden caskets, and maybe help them out with some cash. You’ll know that some family will appreciate your skills more than you can imagine.