Dionne Crozier is a wife and mother to three kids of her own. Yet, she finds the time to care for parents who have a child of their own in a very precarious position.
“I should do something for the NICU. It seriously just came to me,” said Crozier.
She had that thought last fall, more than once.
“Like, I kind of just kept pushing it aside,” she said.
But after the third time, she decided to act on it and NICU survival kits were born. NICU stands for neo-natal intensive care unit.
“A little thing (tag) on there, letting the parents know that people care, and that this kit is to help comfort them while they are in the NICU,” said Crozier, pointing to one of the bags.
The kits contain a journal and pen, snacks, gum, all-important hygiene items from a toothbrush and paste to shampoo and conditioner. socks, baby cap, blanket and small toy. These are all the things that parents may forget to grab as they are rushing out the door to the hospital last minute. She makes items herself, but most come through donations.
“Friends, family, the community, my church,” said Crozier.
Using social media, Crozier has even collected donations from every corner of the country.
“Hawaii is one of them and Washington, and Arizona, Arkansas, North Dakota,” she said. “I have hygiene stuff, blankets, Kleenex, hats, snacks, stuffed animals. It’s easy to keep them like this when I’m compiling kits.”
“Do you assemble over here?” asked Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz.
“Yep, I sew, surge. That’s a full kit already to go,” said Crozier.
Seventy-three kits made since the first of the year. The hospitals love them. She takes them to three in the area; Mountain View and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, and Madison Memorial in Rexburg. Nurses, like Sharla Turville, hand them out to the parents.
“It’s awesome that she’s so thoughtful to be able to step outside herself and see these people’s situations,” said Turville.
One of the nurses related a story back to Crozier about one mother that had to be airlifted with her baby.
“They were like, ‘Hey, here’s a little kit that has some soaps in there and toothbrush, toothpaste and some stuff for you and for the baby.’ She said the lady just started crying and was so grateful, and so she was able to take the kit on the helicopter to the next hospital,” said Crozier.
The idea is catching on. A women in New York contacted her, needing a kit for a friend who had a premature baby in a NICU.
“‘How do I get ahold of one of your kits?’ I’m like, hey, I’ll send you one. So I just put one together, and I sent it to her to get to her friend,” said Crozier.
And now people from all over the United States are contacting her to start something like this where they live. The word is getting out. Even Kory Carling with Mountain America Credit Union has heard about it.
“I’m Kory Carling with Mountain America Credit Union. We have been so impressed at what you’ve been doing for the parents that we would like to Pay It Forward. We have for you $500 in cash that we hope will help you continue to make a difference in the lives of these families,” said Carling.
“Awesome. Oh, wow. Oh my goodness. That is wonderful. Thanks. That will go a long ways. That will go far. I really appreciate that. Thank you so much,” said Crozier.
“You’re doing a great job,” replied Carling.
Here is the contact information for Dionne Crozier:
Pay It Forward will air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone that deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on ‘Pay It Forward’ off to the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.