For more than a decade, Karen Smithson served as project director for Hold Out the Lifeline, a community-based initiative that engaged local churches in efforts to reduce black infant mortality. One of the signature programs of this initiative was Project Moses. Karen and her mother organized church women who crafted bassinets and provided education to needy families on the importance of safe sleep practices for newborns. Sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of preventable infant mortality and disproportionately affect the black community in Jacksonville. Hundreds of bassinets were distributed each year through this program and sleep-related deaths decreased during its implementation.
The Karen Y. Smithson Memorial Fund – Cribs for Kids has been established through Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of North Florida, Inc. to honor Karen’s memory and life’s work. Proceeds from the fund will be used to purchase cribs and provide education to needy families who reside in Health Zone 1 in Jacksonville, Florida through the national Cribs for Kids program.
Donations can be sent to The Karen Y. Smithson Memorial Fund – Cribs for Kids, c/o Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of North Florida, Inc., 5991 Chester Avenue, Suite 107, Jacksonville, FL 32217. Contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, visit www.healthybabiesjacksonville.org.