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 joy.coetzee@gmail.com or visit our blog at http://theruthmailbaggroup.blogspot.com/ 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 - http://www.doh.gov.za/show.php?id=2890
Eastern Cape - http://www.info.gov.za/aboutgovt/contacts/prov/ecape.htm
Gauteng Province - http://www.health.gpg.gov.za/Institutions/Pages/Hospitals.aspx
Johannesburg - http://www.joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&id=43&Itemid=75
KZN - http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/hospitals1.htm; http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/hospitals.htm
Port Elizabeth - http://www.nelsonmandelabay.gov.za/Content.aspx?objID=103
Western Cape - http://www.westerncape.gov.za/eng/directories/facilities/6423

Thursday, 27 November 2014

COLLECTION POINTS


COLLECTION POINTS:  Please be advised that we now have 2 official collection points for our goodies.  Elna Sewing and Knitting Centre and now Rocco at Foto First, 10 Francis Road, Ladysmith 3370 has kindly offered to also be a collection point for The Ruth Mailbag Group.  Please support these kind people and their businesses.  Bless you and thank you!

Monday, 24 November 2014

NEWSLETTER 11 OF 2014

NEWSLETTER 11 OF 2014

 

I trust that you will enjoy the articles and information in this newsletter. Thank you for using your time and talents to help the babies.

 

THANK YOU – Ann Glendinning, Scotland; Barbara de Wet; Carol Bower & friends, England; Doreen Brits, family & friends; Edna Smith; Elna & friends; Frances Labuschagne; Gail Rozendaal; Gerty Kotze; Gillian Clark, England; Gran Babe Smith, Durban; Janet Mill & friends; Joan de Pindray; Judy Maccarone & sister; Karin Strauss; Leslie Ogle, Durban; Meisie Foster; Methodist WA; Phyllis Botha, Sinoville; Retha Fountain; Shirley Brownlee, Norway and Sylvia de Lange.
 
I want to express my appreciation for your generosity and support of The Ruth Mailbag Group.  Your personal commitment was incredibly helpful  Your assistance means so much to me but even more to the moms and babies of The Ruth Mailbag Group.  Thank you from all of us.

 
PHOTOS - Please find new pictures of items knitted / crocheted by dedicated Ruth Mailbag volunteers on facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ruth-Mailbag-Group/153666104700531   Kindly remember that this is our acknowledgement / gratitude forum.  If you do not see your donation photographed here please let me know so that I can follow up.  Thank you in advance for your co-operation.

 

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.

 

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

November for 25 December – Christmas Day

 

Please 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, RSA, (PLEASE USE YOUR GOOD OLD POST OFFICE!!!)  Thank you in advance for your support!

 

HOW TO PACK A PARCEL FOR MAILING & HAND DELIVERY - Choose a box.  The box will need to be big enough for your items to fit into.  Wrap your item in protective material (such as a plastic bag) and place into the box.  Close up the box and seal along any edges by high quality tape.  If you have used a second hand box you will need to ensure that any old delivery labels or address details are removed before sending.  Address your parcel depending on the requirements of the post office.   Write a return address on the item.  Put a contact name & email address and (a telephone number for local deliveries) inside.


 

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.)

 

Please remember!  Do not make your blankets / Afghans smaller than 30 inches x 30 inches, smaller will not be used as they are not used in the unit but for going home.  Thank you.

 

You may use any pattern of your choice to fit 1.6 kg to newborn babies.  (Please do not use 100% wool, acrylic is more durable!!!):  Preferably jackets or jerseys that open all the way down the front to make it easier to dress these tiny babies.

 

GIFTING

 

Friday, 24 October 2014:  Gifted 5 large gabs of crochet cotton and industrial yarn in dark colour to PMB Mental Health Society / Senior Training Centre via Rina Oosthuizen.  Thank you, Rina.

 

Sunday, 26 October 2014: Gifted 19 premature babies and 17 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  The “baby with no mommy” is still in the NICU and growing steadily, I left a pack for her, as I do each week, the staff is using the little hats from the packs for her at this stage.  The baby in the well baby room has a mommy in the ICU, so a prayer for mom to “get well soon” will be much appreciated.  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, 02 November 2014:  Gifted 13 premature babies and 24 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  The “baby with no mommy” is still in the NICU and growing steadily, I left a pack for her, as I do each week, the staff is using the little hats from the packs for her at this stage.  I met with Nurse Louisa in KMC and gave her 6 “nighties” for the mommies that she had requested via Charlotte and Barbara of the WA, her heart is in the right place and I hope that this project will be the success she wants it to be.  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.

 

Saturday, 08 November 2014: Gifted to Môrester Children’s Home a large bag full of good quality handmade clothing for bigger babies, toddlers and older children.  To all those wonderful people who contributed to this donation, bless you and thank you for your support!

 

Sunday, 09 November 2014: Gifted 16 premature babies and 22 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful, saw Sr Kallideen who sends her thanks and regards to all the members of our group.  The “baby with no mommy” is still in the NICU and has progressed from an incubator to a bassinette and growing steadily, I left a pack for her, as I do each week, you will be pleased to know that the staff is using the little sets and blankets from the packs for her at this stage.  The first of the purple hats were distributed in the packs with a post card for mom explaining the significance of the little purple hats.  I enjoyed my half an hour with the moms, babies and staff.  Sadly one mom lost her baby and asked that I not leave a burial gown for her as the family would dress the baby in cultural tradition.  I said condolences on our behalf and promised to remember her in our prayers.  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, 16 November 2014: My weekend off to visit my kids!

 

Sunday, 23 November 2014: Gifted 23 premature babies and 16 newborn babies, moms pleased with their packs and the staff very pleasant and helpful.  The “baby with no mommy” is still in NICU and growing nicely, I left a pack for her, as I do each visit, you will be pleased to know that the staff is using the little outfits and blankets from the packs for her.  Another batch of purple hats was distributed in the packs with a post card for mom, explaining the significance of the little purple hats.  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.

 

Also gifted a new little boy with small amount of clothing, blankets, towel and toiletries.

 

Summary: During the past 12 months we gifted 745 premature babies, 768 newborn babies, 2 Angel babies and 90 boarder / lodger moms; Total babies gifted in 12 months 1515.  This does not include the babies, toddlers and children we gift via children’s homes, Siyathemba, Walton Street Clinic, Child Protection Union, fire victims, individual needy cases, crèches and multiples e.g. triplets, etc.  Congratulations to everybody who contributed, we did very well for a small home grown group.  Bless you and thank you for your support of our babies and moms.

 

PATTERNS

 











 

NEW GROUP - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1501911063426463/ in aid of Kalafong hospital babies and Danville toddlers.

 

NEW ADMIN - https://www.facebook.com/groups/236101209863890/ in aid of Steve Biko Hospital.

CHARITY KNITTING AND CROCHETING FOR BABIES

If you are a person who loves to knit or crochet for others, there are many babies that need items you can make. If you are wondering where to donate items, or how, I recommend you visit your local government hospital and speak to their Paediatrician or the head nurses of the NICU and Maternity.

I have been knitting and crocheting for charity off and on since I was 10 years old and have learned a few things along the way that I would like to share with you.

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. I personally want my handmade items to be given to babies who need them free of any charge, this too is the practice of my charity crafting group.

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

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

4.                Velcro is not recommended for use on most items.  For babies it can tear that tender new skin and the noise is scary for premature babies and will startle them.

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

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

7.                Use yarn or safety pins to secure all paired items together, such as mittens or socks or sets.

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

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

10.             If you are knitting for premature babies of fair complexion it is best to avoid using yellow as the predominant colour in handmade items. 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. Most preemies have some measure of jaundice; accents in yellow are fine. 

11.             Burial gowns – check with your hospitals, but most like the gowns to be open all the way down the back / 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. Blue is not a good dominant colour for burial items especially for babies of fair complexions.

12.             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.

13.             When making dolls, bears, or other soft toys, do not use buttons for eyes.  I prefer to use yarn to stitch simple eyes onto the toys.

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

15.             Some places do not want pompoms on the hats as they are afraid that children could choke on the threads that may be pulled out. The pompoms also tend to fall apart in the wash, so make them tight!  Most of the places I have donated to do like the pompoms, so you will need to check with your hospital.

16.             Many places do not wash donated items, so please do that with a gentle baby detergent. Do NOT use fabric softeners.  Many babies are allergic to them.

17.             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.

18.             Of course, always check with your hospital to see if they have specific guidelines for making items.

19.             When measuring Granny Squares be sure to measure across the top or down the sides, and not corner to corner.

20.             NEWBORN and PREEMIE hats – most hospitals prefer knitted hats in a simple single or double rib pattern as they are stretchy and don’t easily slip off.

NEWS FROM OUR RUTH MAILBAG COMMUNITY

Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 4:52 PM, Marthie Labuschagne <ramta@polka.co.za> wrote: KALAFONG BABIES

We are a small group of ladies knitting for premature babies in Kalafong Hospital located in Pretoria, South Africa.

The needs are plenty – about 40 preemies are born every month. We make single rib beanies, easy knitted bootees and mittens with a longer rib than usual. We also need blankets – fleece, flannel, knitted or crochet.

The babies do not wear any jackets in hospital for they are part of the Kangaroo Mother Care, developed by DR Elise van Rooyen.

Once the babies go home they get ‘n packet of clothing consisting of a beanie, bootees, mittens and a jacket. The jacket must fit a new born baby and must open in the front.

Although we have only just started out we were able to give the babies this year: 56 blankets, 75 “going home parcels”, 100 packets with beanies and bootees to use in the hospital and 25 parcels for bigger babies. We are also planning to give each baby a small parcel for Christmas.

If you want to support us you can contact Marthie Labuschange on Facebook

 

Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 3:55 PM, carolbower <caz@kittymail.com> wrote: Our craft group meets every Tuesday morning in the local church and we have been busy knitting vests and hats as well as several blankets.

My “friends” also include several ladies from a local bowling team who keep me busy wrapping parcels.

I think we have managed to send about 17 parcels this year with another 3 waiting to be posted as soon as the postal situation becomes clear.

We have also held a fund raising tea party and along with very generous donations we have enough money to send many more.

We feel privileged to be part of the Ruth Mailbag family and will continue to support your wonderful work for a long time to come; keep up the good work.  Love Carol Bower and friends xx



Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM, Doreen Brits <doreenbrits@worldonline.co.za> wrote: Every Wednesday a group of ladies get together at the Koekie Jacobzs Senior Centre from 9 to 11 o’clock, the group is called “Busy Bees.”

Some of us are also members of The Ruth Mailbag Group. We knit/crotchet, chat and have tea. Many of the items for the babies are made during that time and we also make items for their fete. We enjoy sharing patterns, ideas and if you need crafting advice there is always someone to help you. Many have knitted or crochet something they have never done before and it is a blessing to teach and help others so that they can enjoy their crafting, and to see the joy when the item has been completed. It is a morning that nobody likes to miss; there is always beautiful handwork to admire.  Blessings, Doreen



Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM, Naomi Johnson <naomi.natalie.johnson@gmail.com> wrote: Ruth Mailbag is Lady Windsor Mothwa Shellhole's chosen charity along with the many Mothwa Havens that we try to support. For Ruth Mailbag we try and gather baby and mommy toiletries and clothing. We also try to knit and crochet various beanies, blankets and clothing. However as we are still a growing shellhole we haven't been able to gather and donate as much as we'd like. One of our projects that we decided to do at our meeting in October is to gather double knit wool to give to some retired ladies to knit/crochet things for the babies and to bring various creams and toiletries for the moms to make up hampers. These items will be collected at our November meeting. We look forward to continue our support for Ruth Mailbag, and we hope that although not much at the moment that what we do donate helps.  Thank you for all your hard work.



Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM, Wendy Walker <wendyannwalker@gmail.com> wrote:  Our little group is slowly growing and being recognised for our community work - thanks to a photo in the local SC Herald.

We have shifted our attention from the Port Shepstone Provincial to Murchison Hospital (due to no acknowledgement or note of thanks from the Provincial PRO)

We have received donations of

- nappies from Checkers

- wool from the Elna shop and fellow bowlers

- money from the Expros ( a group of ex-professional soccer players who donate to charity )

- 20 baby-gros from Marion Bowden of Eastern Cape

- about 50 slippers from The Oyster Box Hotel (via Snoeks Desmond)

We have staged 2 knit-ins and donated 44 packs to Murchison in September. Currently we are trying to reach our target of another 44 packs to give away before Christmas - however our members are becoming distracted with the impending arrival of visitors for Christmas.  Regards, Wendy Walker – Bowlers for Babies

 

Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 3:17 PM, merilynncourt@gmail.com <merilynncourt@gmail.com> wrote:  68 Beanies & 68 Pairs of booties to King Edward Hospital.  Kind Regards,  Lenie Kruger

 

Yours in charity crafting,

Joy Coetzee – Founder

The Ruth Mailbag Group

Contact details: Fax 086 516 4618; Email Joy.coetzee@gmail.com

 

FORUMS –








Newsletter 11 of 2014

Unfortunately I cannot upload the newsletter, if you would like a copy please send me your email address to joy.coetzee@gmail.com.  Any inconvenience regretted.  Thank you

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

NEW GROUP


NEW GROUP - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1501911063426463/ 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.