Tragically, thousands of babies are being abandoned across the nation, on a daily basis—approximately 57 a day. Recently, a baby was found in a shoe box less than eight hours, he was still alive, but unfortunately, many don’t even have the chance. Other babies are left in packages in the middle of nowhere, while some are left in front of churches, buildings or thrown away like leftovers trash.
Project Cuddle® is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity founded by Debbie Magnusen and began in 1996. It’s a safe place for women to go to when they’re pregnant and don’t know what to do. Oftentimes, expectant mothers go through pregnancy scared and alone keeping their unborn baby a secret for different reasons: rape or girls in college can’t deal with the reality of caring for a child. Young mothers may also fear their parents because they are abusive and run the risk of being kicked out of their home. The result is they decide to leave the baby stranded and left for dead.
In order for Project Cuddle to run it's organization it has to raise money from donations.
Project Cuddle held its 2nd Annual Malibu at Sunset on October 17, 2009
With cocktails, dinner, silent auction, 50/50 drawing and entertainment followed by dance at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.
It was perfect evening with a little crisp in the air. Wine by Malibu Family Wines, cocktails and appetizers were being served while people were mingling and walking around trying to figure out what they wanted to bid for in the silent auction.
Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys) is on the advisory board of Project Cuddle and was there to show his support.
A wonderful buffet of pasta, vegetable, beef and chicken shishcabobs were served.
During dinner, a touching video about Project Cuddle was shown followed by speakers who praised Magnusen for her great efforts.
Michelle Stafford (The Young and Restless) is also on the advisory board and was there to support the cause. Her enthusiastic spirit helped raise hundreds of dollars in just a few minutes.
Philanthropy was in the air and crowd seemed so caring and willing help a worthy cause. After dinner, the Surf City All Stars Band began and people went out to shake it up a bit and all were having a great time.
At the same time, an array of scrumptious desserts to suit everyone’s sugar craved tooth was served with hot coffee.
The organization has a 24-hour nationwide hotline staffed by trained volunteers. They also have a school program which educates about safe surrender laws as an alternative to abandonment.
Project Cuddle® can help women find shelter, medical assistance, education or employment. They have helped many young frightened, lost girls and woman make safe and legal choices.
Under the "safe surrender" program, parents or adults with legal custody can hand over a child, in strict confidence, to any fire station or hospital within 72 hours of birth, as long as the child shows no signs of damage or neglect.
How Project Cuddle Began
Before Magnusen began her journey with Project Cuddle, she was a mother of two children and a foster parent. She kept hearing about abandoned babies in Los Angeles and Orange County that were found dead. But one day Magnusen couldn’t take it anymore when she heard about another incident. “I heard about another baby that was suffocated in a trash bag dubbed as ‘Baby Jesus,’” said Magnusen. “I thought to myself, I’m a foster mom, why don’t they bring them to me.”
The problem was that nobody knew Magnusen would take on this responsibility of such magnitude. Ads of toll free numbers started to appear on the radio and television and the story begun. Magnusen started to see this as a sign that this is what she should be doing. She held a press conference and the Project Cuddle® hotline began in July 8, 1996 right in the living room of Magnusen’s home,
Within 12 hours of opening the 24 hour crisis-line, Project Cuddle® got its first crisis call. A frightened woman had hidden her pregnancy from everyone she knew and was due to deliver and had no prenatal care.
“I hate this baby! I was raped!” Said the mother to be. “Figure something out or I’m going to leave this baby in the park after it’s born!”
Project Cuddle® was able to retain an attorney, a family wanting to rescue and adopt the baby, as well as an obstetrician, hospital and social counselor within a week.
Magnusen coached this woman through the delivery of a beautiful baby girl. After the baby was delivered into the arms of the adoptive parents, the birth mother said to Magnusen. "I feel like I've done something good for the first time." The woman did not break the law, the baby was safe and a rescue couple was overjoyed at having a new daughter in their lives.
Since its inception, Project Cuddle® has saved 660 babies across the country and into Canada from the fate of being abandoned, or worse. John Stamos is the National Spokesperson for the organization. With John's help, the charity has been able to create a school video to educate students on the importance of calling for help instead of abandoning your baby.
Magnusen has fostered over 30 drug-exposed babies, while raising two biological children, five of her foster children became part of the Magnusen family. She has one child left in high school and will graduate soon. She is the oldest of 6 children and has always been a caretaker and wanted to adopt or foster children.
Soon Magnusen is holding a 13th birthday celebration and at least 9 of the adopted children will be there. Many moms and adopted families keep in touch with Project Cuddle®.
A message from Debbe Magnusen
For anyone who is hiding a pregnancy and needs help, they can call their toll-free phone number anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
English : 1-888-628-3353
Spanish : 1-888-483-2323
Email : [email protected]
What: Dinner by the Bay
Where: Long Beach Hilton
When: March 6, 2010
What: Flip Flop Formal
When: May 22, 2010
For more information about Project Cuddle click www.projectcuddle.org.