How you can help

We would like your help...

Patients at State hospitals and clinics in South Africa are typically destitute, malnourished, as well as being very sick or injured. Many are jobless, many are homeless, and many have no loved-ones to provide the basic needs for them in hospital.

The Ruth Mailbag Group strives to provide for the needs of destitute moms and babies in the maternity and NICU of our local state hospital and several other hospitals in our country who have asked for our help by providing them with a basic baby pack for their new and or sick babies.

If you can assist please get in touch with us through or visit our blog at for more information.

Yours sincerely,
Joy Coetzee
Founder – The Ruth Mailbag Group

Or a hospital near you... please, browse through the following list, I’m sure you will find a government hospital near you to support:
Contact Details of Public Hospitals in South Africa -
Eastern Cape -
Gauteng Province -
Johannesburg -
KZN -;
Port Elizabeth -
Western Cape -

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


NEW GROUP - in aid of Kalafong hospital babies and Danville toddlers.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

State of our stock

At our monthly meeting on Saturday the state of our stock was discussed and I thought I should share the following information with all members and friends:

Hats newborn and premature sizes – In stock

Knitted Vests newborn and premature sizes – In stock

Cardigans / matinee jackets premature – In stock

Leggings / bootees premature – In stock

Cardigans / matinee jackets newborn – Out of stock

Leggings / bootees newborn – Out of stock

Blankets – Out of stock

Other clothing newborn and premature – Out of stock.

Toiletries and bed socks for moms – Out of stock.

I will continue to gift the available stock as usual and hope that the strike will come to an end so that we may vary and enlarge our packs to the babies and moms.

Please do not courier overseas packages in an attempt to assist as I cannot afford the customs charges.  Bless you and thank you for your support!

Friday, 31 October 2014

DO’S and DON’TS for charity crafting!

DO’S and DON’TS for charity crafting!

1.    When you call around and find a place to donate your handmade items, be sure to check and see if they plan to sell the items or give them directly to patients or clients. I personally want my handmade items to be given to people who need them, and not sold, but that is a personal decision.

2.    Depending on the project guidelines given by individual charities, most recommend that you use soft, acrylic or other machine washable yarns.

3.    There are some charities, domestic and foreign that prefer 100% pure wool items as they tend to be warmer and relatively waterproof compared to manmade yarns and materials. It’s always best to check with the charity to which you wish to donate.

4.    For sewn items, be sure to pre-wash before stitching to avoid shrinkage.

5.    Velcro is not recommended for use on most items.  For babies it can tear their tender new skin and the noise is a bother especially to premature babies.

6.    Finish all threads and yarn ends securely. Work those under the yarn or material so they are not hanging out.

7.    Using double yarn is a secure way to tie quilts.

8.    Use yarn or safety pins to secure all paired items together, such as mittens or socks; vests and matching hats, etc.

9.    Please ensure that all snaps and accessories are not metallic. In ICU’s the metal heats up and can burn the skin, and some babies are allergic to the nickel in those snaps. You can now buy plastic snaps, nice gentle ones.

10.   Do not use glue, glitter or paint, to place decorations or to decorate on handmade items.  All décor should be soft and stitched on securely.  Paint and glitter are poisonous to babies.

11.   If the babies are fair of skin most hospitals ask that yellows not be used as the predominant colour in handmade items for premature babies. The yellow colouring can make even a mild case of jaundice look much worse. This is alarming to the parents, and can be a problem for the babies as nurses are more likely to check more often with a needle stick, to see if the baby is getting worse.  Accents in yellow are just fine though.

12.   Burial gowns – check with your hospitals or charity, but most like the gowns to be open all the way down the back or front.  Premature babies have extremely delicate skin and the easier the item is to place on the baby, the better. Do not use elastic in burial items, as the babies have extremely sensitive skin that can be damaged as the staff put an outfit on the baby. Lace around the neck is not a good idea either. Also, blue is not a good dominant colour for burial items of babies with fair complexions.

13.   When you make any item, be sure to cut, tie, and weave loose yarn ends back into the handmade item.  Cut your yarn tails at least 2” – 4” long and weave those in the inside or back of the garment where they will not be seen, and will not pull out when washed.

14.   When making dolls, bears, or other stuffed toys, do not use buttons for eyes, use yarn to stitch simple eyes onto animals. It gives them a lot of character, too!

15.   If you sew, be certain that all pins and needles have been removed from your items.

16.   Some places do not want us to include pompoms on the hats we make for children, as they are afraid that the children could choke on the threads that may be pulled out. The pompoms also tend to fall apart in the washing process, so make them tight, so you will need to call ahead and check with your choice of charity.

17.   Many places do not wash donated items, so please do that with a gentle baby detergent, even if the items are for adults. Do NOT use fabric softeners.  Many people are allergic to them.

18.   When shipping your items please line the box with plastic or seal the items inside a plastic bag to prevent moisture from seeping into the items.

19.   Of course, always check with your particular charity to see if they have specific guidelines for making items.

20.   When measuring Granny Squares for places who ask for them, be sure to measure across the top or down the sides, and not corner to corner.

21. NEWBORN and PREEMIE hats – most hospitals prefer knitted hats in a simple rib type pattern. The crocheted ones are lovely, but do not possess the stretch needed for comfort for these little ones.

Thursday, 23 October 2014




The Ruth Mailbag Group is slowly but surely becoming a nationwide group of volunteers who provide handmade / bought / good quality second hand baby items to state hospitals. Volunteers who knit, crochet, and sew are invited to join the effort.

The Ruth Mailbag Group was born 12 years ago as a personal effort to provide much needed apparel for premature and newborn infants in my local state hospital. Because of the high demand efforts began to recruit others to join the group.

As The Ruth Mailbag Group grew, it became impossible for me to manage the distribution effort. Therefore, volunteers were urged to deliver completed items directly to hospitals in their community. Thus, there is no way to accurately estimate the actual number of garments delivered to hospitals across the country.

Donations of yarn, fabric, and supplies have been received from individuals, manufacturers, and retailers. The Ruth Mailbag Group appreciates receiving donated yarn. Donated supplies will be distributed to volunteers who request assistance e.g. pensioners and persons living on grants, etc.

At the present time, The Ruth Mailbag Group is an information source for prospective volunteers. There are no membership rules, no dues, no quotas, or obligations. It is hoped that volunteers will contact local hospitals to learn what is needed. Or, send completed items to one of the hospitals on the Hospital List.

The Ruth Mailbag Group items are given FREE to infants, children, and their parents. The families usually keep the items as a memento, especially those for tiny preemies. The focus of The Ruth Mailbag Group’s efforts has been premature and newborn infants. There is the most demand for the larger preemie and full-term sizes of hats and booties. Most hospitals welcome small (30" x30") blankets and quilts. Volunteers provide all of the supplies and may use leftover yarn and fabric. Seasonal and holiday colours are popular - as well as pastels and multicolour stripes.

Join simply means to help. Once you create an item and give it to an individual or organization, you have joined. Please help.

Please refer to the Hospital List below. The Ruth Mailbag Group members are already assisting the hospitals/groups that are listed. For your convenience, the hospital name and address, the name of a staff liaison person, and the list of items that hospital wishes to receive are all compiled on the hospital list. You may send items directly to one of the participating hospitals or you may contact a hospital in your own community. To learn the needs of your local hospital, contact the hospital personnel.

Yarn that may be washed in hot water with harsh detergents and disinfectants should be used for The Ruth Mailbag Group projects. Feel free to vary colours with the season. Holiday colours, sports team colours, multi-colour stripes, and pastels may be used.

It is recommended that you package completed items in plastic bags in order to ensure freshness and cleanliness of each item. Do not add potpourri, sachet, or any fragrances. Do not use fabric softeners, if you wash completed items.

As more and more people learn of the needs of neonatal intensive care units at children's hospitals, some hospitals may be "flooded" with very tiny hats. Please consider making blankets, mittens, or other items and if you make hats, make an assortment of sizes. There are full-term infants in NICUs/ICUs, too.

Interesting articles at the following links:


Sizing charts can be found at the following link:


POSTAL INSTRUCTIONS - CUSTOMS DUTY - VERY IMPORTANT: We would ask you to take special notice of these instructions to avoid unnecessary duty being paid on your parcels as they arrive in South Africa.

Please mark clearly: No Commercial Value - For Charity Only.

Please do not register your letters, parcels, packages or boxes.

Please do not give a monetary value on your parcels (or only the minimum amount as instructed by your post office)

Please do use your good old post office unless you do not have one; it has come to our attention that the customs paid to couriers is higher than that paid at the post office

We have to pay minimal duty on most large parcels arriving. However even just a small monetary value on a parcel attracts far higher duties. Letters, parcels, packages and boxes continue to arrive safely in volumes without any registration or monetary values appended to them.

MOISTURE FREE - Wrap your crocheted, knitted and sewn items in a plastic bag, bubble wrap or buy postal bags with an inner plastic coating to keep them moisture proof. Tape your parcels well.

POSTAL ADDRESS - Address all your post to: The Ruth Mailbag Group, “No Commercial Value - For Charity Only”, C/o Elna Sewing and Knitting Centre, 74 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa or a government hospital of your choice.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT - Please add a note with your email address so that your parcel may be acknowledged.


There are many ways that you can help spread the word about The Ruth Mailbag Group. Many of you have already started which is a wonderful testimony to your generosity.


1. Share this information with all your online family, friends, and colleagues and print some for those who do not have email.


Join today, you won't regret it.

7. CONTRIBUTE TO A KNITTING BLOG - If you belong to, or find a knitting blog, contribute a message to it that explains what The Ruth Mailbag Group aims are with a link to the site.  You can also visit our blog at -

8. WRITE TO THE EDITOR OF A KNITTING / CROCHET MAGAZINE - If you are a subscriber of various craft, crochet or knitting magazines write to the editors and point them in the direction of The Ruth Mailbag Group. Or if your local paper has a charity supplement, perhaps you could let them know about The Ruth Mailbag Group.

9. INVOLVE YOUR CROCHET AND KNITTING GROUP - Involve whichever groups you belong to, your book club, sports club, theatre group, walking group, fitness class. Someone you talk to will be interested in wanting to help. They will have friends who would like to contribute and so the wonderful connections will be made.




Please join me in helping to send every baby born at the following hospitals home in something warm and cosy. Most of the families who have babies there have nothing to bring their babies home in. That’s where we come in. My group, The Ruth Mailbag Group, encourages local communities to provide warm, handmade, bought or gently used items for these families.  CAN YOU KNIT, CROCHET OR SEW?  Then why not join us or send in your finished items.  Please remember to add your name and email so we can let you know they have arrived...   THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR KINDNESS!


For your convenience all hospitals that The Ruth Mailbag Group is already supporting can be found here. The hospital name and address, the name of a staff liaison person, and the list of items that hospital wishes to receive are all posted. You may send items directly to one of the participating hospitals or you may contact a hospital in your own community.


Kindly note that no item may be sold, they are to be given to the babies and their mommies free of any charge!!!


Please mark all packages “FOR CHARITY – NO RETAIL VALUE”.


If the hospital you are working for or crafting for is not listed, please, send me the particulars and I will add their listing free of any charge...
AMOR VIR PREMMIE- EN SIEK BABA'S - STEVE BIKO HOSPITAAL, PRETORIA: NO PACKAGES FROM OVERSEAS PLEASE!!!  Die blad is gestig deur Sarah Marx Kuipers in samewerking met Lanie Meyer.  Sarie her Kaap toe getrek en ek het die admin van die blad oorgeneem.  Ek maak die benodighede bymekaar en sorg vir patrone en verpak dit.  Lanie gaan gee dit af by Steve Biko Hospitaal in Pretoria.  Indien u dit wil koerier of persoonlik wil aflewer, kan dit na Lanie Meyer toe gaan by 8ste Laan 922, WONDERBOOM SUID 0084.   Verskaf asb. die “tracking numbers”
Ons benodig die volgende:
PREMMIEBABA’S - Klein, bootees, mussies en baadjies, asook kombersies (materiaal, gehekel of gebrei)
KANKERBABA’S EN PEUTERS - “Bodywarmers” (vigstruitjies) en mussies, bootees, baadjies en truitjies
BABA’S MET LEWERKWALE - Sagte speelgoed
GEWONE GROTE BABAS - Bootees, mussies, baadjies, truitjies en kombersies (materiaal, gehekel of gebrei)
ANDER INLIGTING - Daar is baie patrone onder FILES, of indien u wil hê ek moet die patroon epos, inbox jou e-posadres vir my.  Gekoopte kleertjies, kombersies en speelgoed is ook baie welkom.
Indien u nie kan naaldwerk doen nie, sal ʼn skenking van wol baie waardeer word. Ons gebruik enige 3 draad (3 ply); 4 draad (4 ply) of dubbeldraad (double knit) wol. Enige kleur.
Ons ontvang partykeer kleertjies wat te klein is vir die premies – dit word oorhandig aan die kraamsaal. Die baie klein, doodgebore babas word dan daarin begrawe.
Alles wat u vir ons stuur word baie waardeer.
Ons benodig ook u gebede vir die projek en dra hiermee ook die projek op aan ons Hemelse Vader.  Ons leuse vir die blad is: 2 Korintiërs 9:7 “Elkeen moet gee soos hy hom in sy hart voorgeneem het, nie met teensin of uit dwang nie, want God het die blymoedige gewer lief.”!/groups/236101209863890/


BABY BUDDIES GROUP:  ROB FERREIRA HOSPITAL AND TEMBA HOSPITAL, NELSPRUIT.  - Contact persons Brenda Davies and Gaynor Fetting at  BABY BUDDIES GROUP - We have a group of ladies young and old knitting blankets squares, hats, slippers and jumpers for premature babies born in the Rob Ferreira Government Hospital Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, when we have surplus stock we deliver to the Temba Hospital, Nelspruit. In our town there is also a group called Care Buddies, ladies who visit our oldies in old age homes. These wonderful ladies have got their oldies knitting and socialising on our behalf and the combination has been wonderful, old supporting young and in return having a common interest and something to share and talk about in the lounge where they meet.  (((If you are in a position to assist, please, contact Brenda and Gaynor at the above address for further information.)))


BEANIES AND BLANKETS FOR BABIES: KING DINUZULU HOSPITAL COMPLEX (PREVIOUSLY KING GEORGE V HOSPITAL) - Address: PO DOMERTON 4019; Physical Address: Corner of Dr R D Naidoo drive and Viola Road , Sydenham Durban.  For attention: Mr Thami Chizama (PRO).  Email:  Tel: 0312426000.  Fax: 0312099586.  Needs: Baby receiving blankets, rompers, vests, nappies, socks, hats, baby wipes, towels, face cloths.

CONTACT PERSON: Snoeks Desmond: I live very near King Dinuzulu Hospital and would be happy to help with receiving gifts / a place where people can drop things off instead of posting them and then helping by taking them to the hospital.  I live in a block of flats where access is controlled so people will have to contact me before arriving with gifts.  Address: 3 Achadhu, 337 Montpelier Road, Durban 4001.  Phone: 031-2076503 / 0837835117.  Email:


BERTHA GXOWA HOSPITAL - Address for donations: Maternity Ward, Cnr. Angus & Joubert street, Germiston.  Postal: Private Bag X1035, Germiston, 1400 South Africa.  Name of staff liaison person: Mrs NJ Korong.  Telephone number of staff liaison person: (011) 089-8500 Ext 1244.  Fax: (011) 825-5425.  Email:  Needs: Kangaroo Abbas, vests, jerseys, booties, hats (prems and full term newborns).  General: Receiving blankets .


BUSFARE BABIES BIRTH CENTRE - Address for donations: Box 411, Kidds Beach 5264, South Africa.  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person: Karen Clark 082 776 3622.  Fax: 0865544361.  Email:  Needs: preterm and term baby clothes, hats, booties, blankets.  General: nappies, sanitary pads, cotton baby blankets.  We would welcome tiny baby clothes. We have had a few premature babies although most of the babies born at Busfare Babies Birth Centre are term. Our babies generally weigh between 2-4.5kg and we send all mums home with girl or boy baby bags so we welcome any contributions which can go into these bags. For all babies small and big we always need hats too.  Your donations would be much appreciated.


CEZA HOSPITAL - Address for donations: Echibini Area, CEZA 3866.  Postal: Private Bag x200 CEZA 3866.  Street:Echibini Road.  Name of staff liaison person: Londiwe Dlamini.  Telephone number of staff liaison person: 035 832 5181/ 076 623 2259.  Needs: beanies, bootees, vests, receivers, rompers.  Fax: 035 832 0057.  Email:  Web:


CHARLES JOHNSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL - Address for donations: PRIVATE BAG X 5503, NQUTHU 3135, South Africa.  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person: Lillian M. Ntuli – 082 260 5700 Tel: 034 271 6462; Fax: 034 271 0169; Cell: 079 523 7970; E-mail  Web:  Needs: Preemie booties & hats in traditional pastels (pink, blue, green, yellow).  General: blankets for babies


DUNDEE HOSPITAL - Address for donations: 121 Mckenzie Streetn or Private Bag X2011, Dundee, 3000.  Name of staff liaison person: Mbali Ntshingila – Public Relations Officer.  Telephone: 034 212 1111 ext: 237 cell: 079 546 9438.  Fax: 086 733 5309.  Email:  Needs: Newborn baby clothes.


FAR EAST RAND HOSPITAL - Name of staff liaison persons: PRO, Hendrik Buda on 011 812 8419 or Fax: 011 817 3525 / 813 1411 or Email: and Social Worker, Jacobé Botha on 011 812 8330 or  Physical address: Hospital Road, New State Areas, Springs, Johannesburg, Gauteng.  Postal Address: Private Bag X50, Springs, 1559, South Africa.  Needs: Clothes for premature & newborn babies, blankets, toys and toiletries.  General: Clothes, blankets and toiletries for children to 12 years old.  Web:


FREE STATE PSYCHIATRIC COMPLEX, BLOEMFONTEIN.  Contact person is Doreen Brits at  Needs: clothes for all ages, knee rugs, toys, toiletries, etc.


HEIDELBERG HOSPITAL.  Contact person is Eleanor van Rooyen at  Please contact her for further information.


HELPING HANDS, CAMBRIDGE, SOUTH AFRICA.  A charitable community based group of ladies who knit, crochet and sew for those less fortunate within the city of East London, South Africa.  Contact:


ITSHELEJUBA HOSPITAL - Address for donation: P/Bag X0047, Pongola 3170, South Africa (N2 north, about 30 km past Pongola).  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person:  Fikile Simelane acting PRO; Tel.034 413 2542/3/4 or 0762217743; Cell 082 357 5774 (in the event of landline service failure; Fax +27 (0) 34 413 2545; Email  Web:  Needs: normally monthly we have about 30 premature babies being born in this institution.  General: We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to your organisation for the great work that you are doing for the community


KING EDWARD VIII HOSPITAL - Address for donations:  Postal: Private Bag X02, Street: Corner Rick Turner and Sydney Road, CONGELLA 4013.  Name of staff liaison person: Nontobeko Ndlela.  Telephone number of staff liaison person: 031 360 3021.  Fax: 031 206 1457.  Email:
Web:  Needs: Newborns and toddlers clothing, blankets, etc.


KUVELA OTHANDWENI (FROM THE HEART!) - Please send donations to: Morag van Deventer, P O Box 53, Baynesfield 3770.   For further information please email


LOWER UMFOLOZI DISTRICT WAR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (LUDWMH) - Address for donations: 29 Union Street, Private Bag x 20005, Empangeni, 3880.  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person:  Mrs N H Xaba.   Tel: 035 907 7156; Email  Fax:  035 – 792 2596.  Web:  Needs: Sanitary pads for moms, receiving blankets, socks, vests, hats, baby rompers, jersey for the new born.  General:  This is a maternity hospital and we have all sizes and types of newborns including pre-mature babies. 


MANGUZI HOSPITAL - PRIVATE BAG X301, KWA-NGWANASE 3973.  Contact person: T.O. Manzini Maternity Operational Manager; S.A. Mathenjwa Hospital PRO; T.J. Manzini Supply Chain Manager.  Fax: 035-5920158.  Tel:035-5920150/1 Ext 222.  Email:  Web:  Needs: preemie booties; hats assorted; vests assorted; jerseys; baby nappies; small bags of toiletries; soft toys; baby blankets; baby baths; baby bedpan; rompers; bibs; feeding cups; baby carrier bags. 


MONTEBELLO HOSPITAL - Address for donations: PRIVATE BAG X 506, Dalton, 3236, South Africa (R 614 Noordsberg Road).  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person: Miss Zama Biyela - Public Relations Officer – 079 618 7142; Tel: 033 506 7100; Fax: 032 506 0102; Cell: 079 618 7142; E-mail:; Web: Needs: Term + preterm baby clothes, hats, booties and baby blankets


MOSVOLD  HOSPITAL - Address for donations: private bag x2211, Ingwavuma, 3968.  Name of staff liaison person: Mrs T.J. Dlamini.  Telephone: 035 5910122  cell no 0825608267.  Fax:035 5910148.  Email:  Web:  Needs: We need anything; we are in a rural community, poverty stricken with a high rate of unemployment. Whatever donation will be very much appreciated.


MOWBRAY MATERNITY HOSPITAL - Address for donations: Postal: Private Bag X 7, Mowbray 7700.  Street: 12 Hornsey Road, Mowbray 7700.  Name of staff liaison person: Carol Adams.  Telephone number of staff liaison person: 021 659 4901.  Fax: ???  Email:  Needs: new born caps, booties, clothes, jerseys, vests, blankets, baby toiletries etc.  Moms: toiletries (soap, facecloth, roll on, spray), slippers, clothes etc.  We accept new and good quality used items.  Baby Friendly Hospital therefore no treats, bottles or milk formula products!!!


MURCHISON HOSPITAL -  Contact Person: Wendy Davies-walker, Bowlers 4 Babies group.  Please message Wendy at or on her fb page if you would like to help her to help the moms and babies.


NEWCASTLE PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL (There are problems with postal deliveries; I recommend hand deliveries only, please.)  Address for donations:  4 Hospital Street, Newcastle, 2940.  Name of staff liaison person: Sister Marlene Lubbe (Operational Manager-Nicu).  Telephone: 0343280003.  Fax: 03431 23891.  Email: (this email address will change, Mrs Buthelezi is retiring)  Web:  Needs: very low birth weight hats and booties


PORT SHEPSTONE HOSPITAL - Address for donation: P/Bag x5706, Port Shepstone 4240. Cnr of Connor and Bazley Street, Port Shepstone.  Name and telephone number of staff liaison person: Phumza Morai (PRO) Tel 039 688 6276; fax 039 682 6678; cell 083 3323 722.  Email:  Web:  Needs: Vests, jerseys, booties, hats; General: Receiving blankets will be appreciated.  Contact person at Margate: Wendy Walker at


PRECIOUS BABIES KNITTERS, GARSFONTEIN, PRETORIA:  Based in Garsfontein in Pretoria, restricted to Mamelodi and the Greater Pretoria area.  Contact Duncan Bain at


RAHIMA MOOSA MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL - Address for donations: c/o FUEL AND OUDTSHOORN STREETS, CORONATIONVILLE.  Name of staff liaison person: MRS SUSAN JORDAAN – CEO.  Telephone: 011-470-9034 (CELL 082-7721119).  Fax: 011-673-5658.  Email:  Web: Gauteng Health – the hospital does not have a web site.  Needs: BABY CLOTHES AND BLANKETS


R. K. KHAN HOSPITAL - Address for donations: 336 R K KHAN CIRCLE, CROFTDENE, CHATSWORTH, 4092.  Name of staff liaison person: MRS KAMLA CHETTY, Telephone: 031/4596126 OR 6125, Fax: 031-4011247, Email:, Web:  Needs: an average of +/- 20 per month premature babies. Our other deliveries are around 600 per month.


SIYATHEMBA - Address for donations: C/o Private Bag x2211, Ingwavuma, 3968.  Name of staff liaison person: Mrs T.J. Dlamini.  Telephone: 035 5910122; Cell no 0825608267; Fax:035 5910148.  Email:  Needs: Blankets, clothes and soft toys for newborn babies  General: In a nut shell, we are helping to support young women with basic needs who would have otherwise aborted their pregnancy as a result of being overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task to care for their unborn child. These needs are diverse, and we try here and there to help as we feel led. One thing we do for all is try to give each new baby a generous hamper of baby clothes to start him/her off. I've been collecting as much as I can, but generally run short as each little baby makes quite a dent in a bunch of things that has taken months to collect. If you are able to help in any way or would like any more information, please don't hesitate to contact me! :)

Contact person in Ladysmith KZN: Gail Rozendaal, Tel +27 36 638 4087; Fax +27 36 638 4103; Email

Contact person in the UK: Susi Wakeman at facebook group


THE RUTH MAILBAG GROUP:  Ladysmith Provincial Hospital - Address for donations: The Ruth Mailbag Group, C/o P C Galaxy, 23 b Francis Road, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa.  Needs: preterm and full term baby clothes, blankets, nappies, soft toys and toiletries.  General: toiletries, facecloths and bed socks for the boarder moms.  Fax: 086 516 4618.  Email:


CONTACT DETAILS OF PUBLIC HOSPITALS IN SOUTH AFRICA - If you still have not found a hospital nearby, please, browse through the following list, I’m sure you will find a government hospital near your work, your home or your favourite shopping centre to support:


FREE LISTING – HOSPITALS WHO NEED BABY FRIENDLY ITEMS: Please complete tear strip below and return to or fax 086 516 4618 or mail to: The Ruth Mailbag Group, C/o Elna Knitting and Sewing Centre, 74 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370.

Name of hospital:
Address for donations:
Name of staff liaison person:
Telephone number of staff liaison person:


WANT TO FORM A KNITTING GROUP, to knit, crochet, sew and quilt for charity in a community of friends? The same as a book club, a knitting group can be the basis for lifelong friendships. Being united in a common purpose, by knitting for charity, makes the effort even more meaningful.
Here are some suggestions for how to get a knittng/crocheting/sewing/quilting group together:

1. Start by inviting immediate family and friends and ask them if they know anyone else who would be interested.

2. Settle on one regular date e.g. second Wednesday of every month. Try not to change it once started just to accommodate one member. Once the regularity is affected, the group tends to break apart. Just make it on a ‘come if you can’ basis.

3. Agree to host it on a rotational basis, or go to a local wool or craft shop and ask if they would host it after hours.

4. If at home, decide whether the host is going to supply food and beverages. Efforts will be greatly rewarded by the conviviality of sharing food together, but also the enjoyment of meals shared at other member’s homes. Food is definitely a topic of enthusiasm for most people and recipe sharing an added benefit!

5. Make sure for the first meeting that everyone brings wool, a pair of needles and a darning needle and any donations for gifting. If they are already involved in a knitting project ask them to bring it to show the group. Arrange a collection point e.g. a local wool or craft shop. Decide on which hospital or clinic will be receiving the gifts. Name the group. The ‘brand’ remains the same, but the community and branch differs to accommodate and benefit the local community.

7. Contribute knitting group stories, patterns, and successes, and send photos to the Ruth Mailbag Group. Fax 086 516 4618 /


THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!  Doreen Brits, Ellie Weeber, Frances Labuschagne, Heila Jooste, Honeydew,
Janet Mill, Judy Maccarone, Kay Thorne and the Geluksburgers, Marieta van Staden, Melanie van Vuuren, Morag MacNeil van Deventer and friends, and Rosemary Earp Jones.  Errors and omissions regretted.


Sadly the post office is still striking and we have received no packages from abroad this month.  Holding thumbs that it will soon be over and that our packages will be processed and delivered to us, any inconvenience regretted.




Saturday, 20 September 2014 – Gifted to the farmers and farm workers affected by the terrible fires in the Harrismith area via Celeste Schmidt, several large bags of assorted clothing for babies through adults, some knitted teddies for the kiddies and quilts for the babies.  To all those wonderful people who contribute these items, bless you and thank you for your help, your support is much appreciated by all.


Sunday, 28 September 2014 - Gifted 22 premature babies and 22 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful, even if they mimicked my opening line with the moms, I get the feeling they think I cannot understand a word of the colloquial language, surprise, surprise!!!  I enjoyed my half an hour with the moms, babies and staff.  To all those wonderful people who contribute to the baby packs, bless you and thank you for your help, your support is much appreciated by especially the moms and babies.


Sunday, 05 October 2014 - Gifted 22 premature babies and 23 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  I enjoyed my half an hour with the moms, babies and staff.  To all those wonderful people who contribute to the baby packs, bless you and thank you for your help, your support is much appreciated by especially the moms and babies.


Sunday, 12 October 2014 - Gifted 25 premature babies, 14 newborn babies and 23 boarder / lodger moms, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  We enjoyed our half an hour with the moms, babies and staff.  Thank you to Barbara, Frances, Mariette and Shirley for helping me carry and distribute the packs, your support is invaluable.  To all those wonderful people who contribute to the baby packs, bless you and thank you for your help, your support is much appreciated by especially the moms and babies.


Sunday, 19 October 2014 - Gifted 22 premature babies and 20 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  I enjoyed my half an hour with the moms, babies and staff.  To all those wonderful people who contribute to the baby packs, bless you and thank you for your help, your support is much appreciated by especially the moms and babies.


PHOTOS - Please find new pictures of items knitted / crocheted by dedicated Ruth Mailbag volunteers on facebook page: 


DATES TO REMEMBER IN 2014 / 15 - Please plan your projects around the following days.  We shall continue to concentrate on items for the babies (premature and newborn).  Donate items such as baby clothing, new or gently used and handcrafted baby items, supplies for crocheting and knitting, like skeins of yarn, etc.


November for 25 December – Christmas Day
December for 1 January – New Year’s Day
January for 14 February – Valentine’s Day
February for 17 March – St Patrick’s Day
March for 20 April – Easter Sunday
April for 15 May – International Kangaroo Care Day
May for 21 June – World Wide Knit in Public Day – Comfort scarves for Victory Haven & other shelters
June for 18 July – Nelson Mandela Day
July for 9 August – National Women’s Day (Emphasis on Boarder Moms and their babies)
August for 12 September – International Crochet Day
September for November – Click for Babies / Purple hat project (Awareness of Shaken baby syndrome and Period of Purple Crying)
October for 17 November – World Prematurity Day

Please address all your post to: The Ruth Mailbag Group, “No Commercial Value - For Charity Only”, C/o P C Galaxy, 23b Francis Road, Ladysmith 3370, RSA, (PLEASE USE YOUR GOOD OLD POST OFFICE!!!)  Thank you in advance for your support!


HAMPERS FOR CHRISTMAS BABY AND NEW YEAR BABY – If you would like to contribute an item to one or both of these hampers, please send it to me marked Christmas Hamper or New Year Hamper and I will keep it for the hamper you have chosen. (Any group or hospital who also wishes to run with this project for their hospital is welcome to do so.)

HINT! HINT!!!  Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 7:02 PM, Ndlela Nontobeko wrote: RE: HAMPERS: CHRISTMAS BABY AND NEW YEAR BABY - This is a great initiative, I hope we get sponsors for both Christmas and New Year’s baby.  Kind Regards, Miss Nontobeko Ndlela ( Public Relations Officer);  King Edward VIII Hospital, Corner Rick Turner (Francois) & Sydney Road; Private Bag X02, CONGELLA 4013.  Tel:  +27 31 360 3021;  Fax: +27 86 636 8764 Email: (Work) OR (Private).  “Lord in you is my hope, in you is my desire, in you is my strength.  Make my life count in someone’s life today.  Help me reach out with your love. Amen”



To crochet:


To knit:


Please remember!  Do not make your blankets / Afghans smaller than 30 inches x 30 inches, smaller will not be used.  Thank you.


You may use any pattern of your own choice to fit 1.6 kg to newborn babies.  (Please do not use 100% wool, acrylic is more durable!!!):



Please send your packages or hand deliver your packages to:  The Ruth Mailbag Group, C/o Elna Sewing and Knitting Centre, “For charity – NO retail value”, 74 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa.

MEETING - Thank you, to all the ladies, who attended the meeting, held on Saturday, 4 October 2014, it was a small group this month.  It was wonderful to see you all looking so well.  Several members tendered apologies, and were sorely missed and we do hope that you will be able to join us next month!!!  The show and tell was thoroughly enjoyed and everybody always so appreciative of each other’s talents, always encouraging and supportive.   Thank you, Di and the Juana Maria Home for the tea and coffee, much enjoyed after our business was completed.  Once again, thank you, for your talents and the time you spend with us each month, we do so enjoy your company.  Next meeting to be held on Saturday, 1 November 2014 at 2 pm.  This will be the last meeting for this year.  The December meeting will be a luncheon held at the Guinea Fowl Restaurant.  You can start saving your cents now so that you can join us.  If you have not received our invitation and you would like to join us, please let me know and I will send you the invitation.  We will not meet in January as this group will be in recess for the holiday period.  This does not mean that we stop knitting and crocheting, the babies will continue to arrive and we will continue to gift them and their moms in this period.


Enjoy the articles and information in this newsletter. Thank you for using your time and talents to help the babies.


Yours in charity crafting,
Joy Coetzee – Founder
The Ruth Mailbag Group
Contact details: Fax 086 516 4618; Email


FORUMS –!forum/the-ruth-mailbag-