KIRKSVILLE—When Tony Potter and Stacy Tucker-Potter experienced a personal tragedy in 2005 with the loss of their two-month-old baby daughter, the grief-stricken parents turned their pain into joy for others.
They joined with Hamilton Street Baptist Church in Kirksville to create the organization Love, Lily in tribute to their daughter who they say had more love and life than she could show during her short time with them.
“Lily taught us a lot about love even though she was just such a little, itty, bitty person,” Tucker-Potter said. “She had a lot of love and we wanted to share that love.”
Following their personal loss, the Potters said they wanted to share not only Lily’s love, but also God’s love for all children.
Recently the Potters, and their 4-year-old son Jude, visited the Lifeline Pregnancy Resource Center in downtown Kirksville to donate 14 hand-crocheted blankets, six pairs of booties and two hats for new mothers and their own bundles of love.
The Potters, through Love, Lily and the Women’s Ministry at the Baptist church, organized a community crocheting effort, with about 10 regular local volunteers devoting their time and love to make the blankets and items for expecting and new moms that may be going through their own personal struggles.
“When I thought about what’s going on in those people’s family, you don’t know if they have that support or that love,” Tucker-Potter said. “You don’t know if they’re having a baby shower or having people wish them congratulations because many times these are unplanned pregnancies.”
With each handmade gift, Love, Lily also attaches a handwritten card, congratulating the mom and baby and blessing them with God’s love.
“Long before you knew you were going to be a mom, God knew this baby and loved it very much,” one of the cards reads. “We prayerfully made this blanket as a symbol of God’s love – of our love –for you and your baby.”
The card also references Bible passage Jeremiah 1:5, which in the King James version reads: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
The cards and blankets are given to newborns and their mothers as part of a gift basket from the Lifeline Pregnancy Resource Center, which provides services to mothers in need of support.
“We serve women facing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are single mothers,” said Breanne Hunt, executive director for the center. “These blankets and the cards, they say to someone that, ‘Hey, a complete stranger wants to support you,’ especially at that time in their lives when it can be very difficult.”
The center is a non-profit Christian ministry that provides free services to mothers in need.
The idea for Love, Lily came to the Potters when they were in the hospital with Lily and they received a blanket from Project Linus, a similar effort that provides gifts for children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need on a national scale.
Those interested in more information or becoming involved with Love, Lily can contact the group on its Facebook page or through the Women’s Ministry of the Hamilton Street Baptist Church in Kirksville. (This article was reprinted courtesy of the Kirksville Daily Express.)
TAYLOR MULLER/Kirksville Daily Express