Infant coffin creator shares his mission

METAIRIE, La. -- Donald Sampey is by no means a craftsman, so he claims.

However, he dedicates his free time to making small coffins for infants who've faced untimely deaths.

"I had no idea how to spell wood-working. I really did not and I really still don't, I mean, it's a learning curve straight up," says Sampey.

The hobby started when a family friend tragically lost her grand baby.

"Her granddaughter was stillborn, and her son didn't have the where with all to be able to take the baby from the hospital to bury him," says Sampey.

That's when he and his catholic men's prayer group, The Monday Night Disciples, joined up with Compassionate Burials for Indigent Babies to build caskets that are free of charge for families.

Also, for babies who have been abandoned.

"They could wind up in medical waste, or they burn, throw it in the garbage, whatever it is," says Sampey.

The group creates coffins for babies as young as just a few weeks old and up to two years old.

The build time takes about two days, and the materials are usually donated by local businesses.

"We do not use any nails or screws of any kind. It''s all done with glue and biscuit joiners," says Sampey.

The work is done to ensure that unclaimed and aborted babies receive a proper burial.

"It's a sad thing, but then again the good Lord put us to do something, to take care of his babies," says Sampey.

Wedding dresses are donated to the cause, and that's what they use to create the lining of the casket and how they make the outfits for the babies to be buried in.

"The shop is really set up to take care of the babies by building coffins, providing funerals for the babies, and places to bury them," says Sampey.