The Family Resource Center at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs started putting together My Memory Bags more than a decade ago. They have given away more than 4,000 bags to grieving children.
The bags are designed for children dealing with the death of a loved one. The bags are specific to three age groups: preschool children, school-aged children and teens.
Jean Armstrong is a registered nurse and manages the Family Resource Center. She says, "death is difficult enough for us, just think of how difficult it is for a child." She also points out how the entire process can be overwhelming for a child. They may not know what to expect at a funeral and may not be prepared to see their loved ones also grieving. The memory bags address that through literature, a folder full of resources and story books about loss. They also contain items like photo books and a plastic baggie to place a remembrance item.
Dee Wicks is a medical social worker at Jennie Edmundson. She has used My Memory Bags to help children professionally and recently she took some for her grandchildren who lost their great grandfather.
"And the children also I think really benefit from having something they can put in their hands and refer back to," Wicks said.
The Jennie Edmundson Foundation funds the My Memory Bags and they also receive grants and donations from agencies that have used them.
You do need to be related to a Jennie Edmundson patient to receive a memory bag, they are free to any child who needs one. Armstrong says she can mail them too. Simply call, 712-396-4200. You can also call that number to learn more about them if you think your organization or place of business could benefit from them.
If you have story you'd like Jennifer Griswold to cover as part of her series Your Family Now, you can email her at jennifer.griswold@3NewsNow.com or find her on Facebook.