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Sing Me To Heaven Foundation considered for state funding

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:44 p.m. CDT
(Submitted Photo)
Sing Me To Heaven Foundation Co-Founder Jennifer Mehlert kisses her daughter, Natalie. Natalie passed away on Jan. 6, 2010, which was part of the inspiration to the foundation.

The Sing Me To Heaven Foundation, based out of La Porte City, helps families find assistance after the loss of a child to cover funeral expenses. The foundation’s cause may receive some state funding.

State Sen. Bob Kressig has proposed a bill that would appropriate $100,000 from the state budget. Iowa House File 229 is a bipartisan legislation that would provide qualifying families up to $2,000 for funeral expenses incurred after the death of their child. SMTHF has seen attention from multiple states outside of Iowa.

“The Miami Hearld ran a story about us in their paper, not even a day after the story ran, we received an email from a family in Miami asking if we could help them,” SMTHF co-founder Jennifer Mehlert said. “We have received responses from Minnesota, California, Texas, Missouri and Kansas as well. We try to find a connection to contact the funeral home, which shows the need is out there. We hope to have (SMTHF) go national one day, because it’s hard to turn them away.”

The way for SMTHF to go national is to have families from states make the commitment. The Iowa chapter has seen its share of struggles since the inception of the foundation.

“They would have to step up because we have a struggle raising funding and creating awareness for the families in need,” Melhert said. “We always need help with fundraising and volunteers. It’s just great to see someone doing what they feel called to do. It’s hard to see families struggling going through the grieving process while dealing with funeral expenses.”

SMTHF story hasn’t been easy for Mehlert, but is one of hope for a family grieving.

“This was started by a family that is middle class,” Mehlert said. “At the time, the only assistance I was on a medical wavier for Natalie. While I ended up having my family help pay off the funeral. I also wanted to be able to do it myself, but the amount was just too much. Our foundation is to help others in similar situations because every family should have the opportunity to give their child the memorial they deserve. Losing a child is hard enough than saying goodbye should be what families are focusing on.”