Comfort Made With Love
The cozy, colorful baby blankets made by Project Linus volunteers always go to a good home – the arms of a child in need of some comfort.
Pam Brandt, an organizer with the local Project Linus chapter and a volunteer baby “cuddler” at UNM Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),sees how important their donations are to the children.
“I go to cuddle the babies and I see where the blankets go,” she says.
Volunteers with Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization that makes hand-stitched blankets for children in need, gather on a regular basis to chat and make creations that are donated to UNM Hospital and other agencies that help kids who are in some form of crisis.
On a recent Saturday, Project Linus held a Make A Blanket Day at Hip Stitch in northeast Albuquerque, where about two dozen volunteers made more than 20 isolettes – specially fitted blankets that cover the incubators – for the NICU at UNMH.
The Project Linus group donates 50 to 100 handmade blankets and isolettes a month to UNMH, Brandt says.
“Most of these ladies are retirees and (they’re) doing a little bit to help someone,” Brandt says.
Each year, says Barbara Temer, who works in Volunteer Services at UNMH, the hospital receives thousands of blankets, hats and other clothing items used for units throughout the hospital and at clinics through the Someone Cares Program. The in-kind donations total about $100,000 a year, she says.
The volume of donations from numerous blanket-making groups means she spends lots of time hand-writing hundreds of thank you notes.
“You have to do that to let them know what it means,” Temer says. “And it’s personalized so they know we really did use the item.”
The baby blankets aren’t the only homemade donations. Many groups throughout the city make thoughtful gifts. One organization makes support pillows for women with breast cancer. Another group, called the Women of Allegria, makes support pillows for cardiac patients. And congregants at Christ Ray of Hope Church donates more than 1,000 homemade blankets each year, Temer says.
Others making regular handmade donations include:
- Temple Lodge No. 6
- Assistance League
- North Valley Quilters
- Thimble Weeds
- New Mexico Quilters
- Tuesday’s Angels at Palo Duro Senior Center
- Ryan’s Case for Smiles
- Golden Fingers
“I count myself blessed that I can work with such wonderful people,” Temer says. “They’re so caring and giving. I always tell them that every stitch is stitched with love. These groups, they’re gold to the hospital.”