Garden of Innocence

Organization provides dignified burial for abandoned babies

By Kathleen Ryan

“If no one grieves, no one will remember,” said Elissa Davey, the founder of Garden of Innocence, a nonprofit organization that provides dignified burials for abandoned babies. The California resident thought of the idea in 1998 after reading about a baby whose body was dumped in a trash can. She could not stop thinking about how this unclaimed baby was destined for an unmarked grave, so Elissa went to work finding a dignified place for the child to rest.

Today, Garden of Innocence has 11 locations throughout the state working with coroners from 32 counties. The organization has laid nearly 400 little ones to rest, ranging in age from 20 weeks gestation to 8 years old. With the help of many volunteers, every baby receives a name, homemade blanket, small stuffed animal, handmade wooden casket or urn, burial marker, and a full-service funeral. Community members turn out to honor the babies and sprinkle rose petals on each tiny grave.

How can woodworkers help? “We need wooden urns and small caskets,” said Elissa, who hopes to take the program nationwide. “Woodworkers can leave them plain or embellish them with painting, engraving, carving, and scrollwork,” she said. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to anyone who can help us provide a final resting place for these forgotten children.”

CLICK HERE for general information about the organization.

A variety of woodworkers from across the country have already created urns and sent them to the organization. Click here to see some of the urns they made.

Eagle Scout Steven Packard made a number of caskets as his eagle project. CLICK HERE for more on Steven and his project.

CLICK HERE to download plans for an urn.

CLICK HERE to download plans for a casket.




CLICK HERE to see more great projects from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Fall 2017. CLICK HERE to purchase the issue.