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Ella's Closet Sparking Change For Belle Glade Mother

Story by Greg Angel / CBS12

BELLE GLADE (CBS12) -- Only a parent knows the grief to lose a child, especially a first-born only four months old.

When "Baby Ella" died this year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, her family and their friends were determined to turn their mourning into a motivation to make a difference in the lives of mothers in need.

Family friends created "Ella's Closet", a program to help mothers in western Palm Beach County.

Tucked away inside the Lighthouse Cafe food pantry in Belle Glade, "Ella's Closet" provides resources and education for parents in need.

"The whole theme of Ella's Closet is that baby Ella had everything that a little baby could want, so much that some of these little children that live down here in this area do not have," said Debra Allen, founder of Ella's Closet and family friend to Ella's family.

Shelves line the closet with photos of Ella, who would have turned one on Saturday, along with clothes, baby food, formula and other necessities.

Parents can buy those items using "Ella Bucks" which are earned by attending classes that teach the basics of CPR, cooking and know-how of raising a child.

Mother Tayama Bosquet says the program has made a world of difference for her and her three young boys. Buying what she needs is tough in a neighborhood where life isn't always easy.

"It gives me family, which is a big thing, a lot of the girls that come to class, they don't have much family and we're all in the same boat," Bosquet said.

"Ella's Closet" manager Tandra Jones says the program is about helping families build foundations for their futures.

"We want you to have these items, we want you to get the knowledge from the workshops because it's beneficial to you, its' beneficial to raising your kids," Jones said.

She says recently a mother was able to save her baby's life using the CPR skills learned in one of the workshops she attended.

Jones says "Ella's Closet" is about allowing the legacy of a baby build a better future for families in the Belle Glade area; and it seems to be working, and growing.

"Each one, teach one. Each one comes in here and they learn and they go out and teach someone else what they learned," Jones said.

The future of "Ella's Closet" will depend in support from the community. They are constantly seeking donations of money and supplies as well as mothers who need support, help and education.

To learn more about "Ella's Closet", click here.
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