THE M&M TEAM … The Lauber and Merillat families recently donated a Caring Cradle to the birthing center at CHWC. (PHOTO PROVIDED)
By: Amy Wendt
It’s time to start checking your couch cushions for quarters because the M&M Keeping it Country Quarter Craze Caring Cradle Benefit is coming to the Archbold K of C on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm. Doors to the event open at 4:00 pm.
The annual benefit that began in 2018 is organized by the Lauber and Merillat families of Archbold in honor of the infants that they lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and stillbirth respectively.
Funds raised each year are used to provide Caring Cradles to healthcare facilities in Williams and Fulton Counties and beyond.
While the evening will have plenty of fun, games, Chinese Auction tables, and food, this year’s event will feature a Quarter Auction, where participants can bid on items using quarters.
Each item is assigned a number, and participants place quarters into a container for each number they want to bid on.
The auctioneer draws a number at random, and whoever placed a quarter on that number wins the item.
Local businesses and individuals went above and beyond by generously donating items for the event. Prizes include Four tickets to Buckeye Country Superfest in Columbus with an overnight stay, Four tickets to Columbus Crew vs. NYC soccer, a “Date Night” Basket that includes two tickets to see a Girl Named Tom with a $100 gift card to Sweetwater Chophouse, Milwaukee power tools and so much more.
All fun aside, for the Lauber and Merillat families, the mission to help grieving parents is one that is close to their hearts.
Marlea Lauber was born in 2012 and passed away at 8 weeks. “After losing her I wanted to keep her memory alive and help others that were dealing with the grief of losing a child. So, I started fundraising,” Kristen Lauber recalls.
Danielle Merillat shared that her son, Miller passed away in 2017 four months before his due date.
“When we were at the hospital delivering him, I just told (my husband,) Logan, that I wanted to do something in honor of him.”
Shortly thereafter “M&M” was born. The two families joined forces to turn their shared pain into purpose by raising funds to donate Caring Cradles to area healthcare facilities including the Fulton County Hospital in Wauseon, CHWC in Bryan, and Sufficient Grace Ministries, an organization that travels to healthcare facilities in the area to offer support for families who experience the loss of a baby in any gestation.
The Caring Cradle is a product designed to provide families with a respectful and safe environment to spend time with their stillborn child.
It is equipped with a cooling system that preserves the baby’s body for an extended period, giving families the time they need to grieve and say goodbye.
“We know the value and the extra time that this gives families,” noted Lauber.
When the M&M team first started its mission, very few healthcare facilities in Northwest Ohio had a Caring Cradle.
Since 2018, M&M has raised enough funds to donate over a dozen units to birthing centers in the four-county area and as far away as Columbus.
Tickets to the 2023 M&M Keeping it Country Quarter Craze are $30 each heavy appetizers, a dessert bar, and one bidding paddle are included in the ticket price.
Additional bidding paddles will be available for purchase at the event. Do be sure to bring a lot of extra quarters for the auctions!
For tickets, you may reach out to Kristen Lauber at (419) 572-1775 or Danielle Merillat at (419) 906-4096.
Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on the evening of the event.
Amy can be reached at email@example.com