THE RUTH MAILBAG GROUP Newsletter 4 of 2015
First, I would like to convey my sincere thanks to all who sent contributions to The Ruth Mailbag Group. The response to our monthly projects was overwhelming and very generous. I am very grateful for your support and I am honoured to work with caring, talented, generous and thoughtful volunteers.
Thank You - Ann Glendinning, Scotland; Anonymous; Barbara and family, UK; Carol Bower and friends, England; Deb Schutte, USA; Doreen Wissing, Pietermaritzburg; Gwen Draffan and Pam, England; Jenny Hunt, UK; Lola Foster and Mary, UK; Margaret Hall, Denise and Kathleen, Our Lady of Lourdes R C Church, Scotland; Margaret Landor, England; Marion Reid, UK; Mrs B Norton, England and Sharon Rosen, UK
Sunday, 22 March 2015 – Gifted 25 premature babies and 20 newborn babies. Moms delighted with their packs, this week we were able to give each baby a hat, top, bootees, a blanket and a teddy bear. Thank you to the staff for their friendly help. Thanks to Mary Ann, Mariette and Shirley for their help carrying and distributing the packs. Thank you to all who in anyway contribute to our packs each week, your generosity and talent goes a long way to making life a little easier for these babies and their moms.
Sunday, 29 March 2015 – Gifted 37 babies. Moms delighted with their packs, this week we were able to give baby gros (sleepers) in the packs. Thank you to the staff for their friendly help. Thanks to the moms in the B & B for alerting me to two babies “with no mommies”, I visited NICU and discovered that the one baby’s mom is in ICU, so, I ask for prayers for her and her baby and the other baby had been abandoned and to quote the staff “found in the bushes”, prayers for this little baby, too, please. There was a doctor in the NICU while I was there and he thanked us profusely for what we do for the babies. Thank you to all who in anyway contributes to our packs each week, your generosity and talent goes a long way to making a difference for these moms and their babies.
Sunday, 05 April 2015 – Gifted 44 babies. Moms delighted with their packs. Thank you to the staff for their friendly help. Update on the 2 babies I told you about last week, the one has progressed to the well baby room, while the other remains in the NICU. Thank you to all who in anyway contributes to our packs each week, your generosity and talent goes a long way to making a difference for these moms and babies. Bless you and thank you!
Sunday, 12 April 2015 – Gifted 20 moms in the boarding establishment. The moms were delighted with their toiletries and bed socks; I could hear their ululating from the car park when I was leaving.
Thank you to all who contributed toiletries and bed socks they were much appreciated. Once again, thank you, for your support!
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 - Gifted to Siyathemba and Ikhaya Lethu via Gail Rozendaal 2 large bags full of assorted clothing that is too large for our tiny babies. Thank you to all who donate toddler and children’s clothing. Your support is much appreciated.
Sunday, 26 April 2015 - Gifted 24 newborn and 6 premature babies. Very quiet day on the wards, guess as many as possible were discharged so that they could spend the long weekend at home. There were 4 babies with no mommies today. Thank you to the staff for their friendly help. There was a doctor in the NICU while I was there and he thanked us profusely for what we do for the babies. Thank you to all whom in anyway contributes to our packs each week, your generosity and talent goes a long way to making a difference for these moms and their babies. Once again, thank you, for making it possible, without you this would not be happening.
Meeting - Welcome to the new faces, it was great to meet you and I look forward to getting to know you better.
Sorry some of our members could not attend, you were sorely missed.
There were loads of beautiful donations brought to the meeting and this made the show and tell very exciting. Thank you for your generosity and support.
Kindly note that our meeting to be held on the 1st Saturday in May 2015 is postponed (as it is a long weekend) and rescheduled to be held on the 2nd Saturday in May 2015 at 14h00 at the Juana Maria Home, Ladysmith. I trust that this will meet with your approval. Any inconvenience caused is regretted.
Thank you for a lovely meeting you are all stars.
Photos - I enjoy sharing photos and reports with you, photos of the babies & their moms. Thank you for sending photos of your work, you will find these photos on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ruth-Mailbag-Group/153666104700531.
Dates to Remember In 2015 / 16 - We will concentrate on items for the babies (premature and new born). Please donate items such as baby clothing, new or gently used and handcrafted items, etc. These “challenges” are just for fun, to give you some ideas in case you can’t think of anything to make. They are NOT mandatory and not intended to be prescriptive. These are projects you can choose to support if you wish! Let’s warm and comfort the babies!
May for 13 June – World Wide Knit in Public Day – bootees for new born babies
June for 18 July – Nelson Mandela Day – 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (67 blankets for our babies!)
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) - hats for new born babies
October for 17 November – World Prematurity Day
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 5 April – Easter Sunday
April for 15 May – International Kangaroo Care Day (Emphasis on premature and very small babies)
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, OR The Ruth Mailbag Group, “No Commercial Value - For Charity Only”, C/o Foto First, 10 Francis Road, Ladysmith 3370, RSA, (PLEASE USE YOUR GOOD OLD POST OFFICE!!!) Thank you in advance for your support!
The Ruth Mailbag Group items are given FREE to infants, children & their parents. Families usually keep the items as a memento—especially garments for tiny preemies. Although the focus of The Ruth Mailbag Group’s efforts was and is premature and new born infants, it has been impossible to ignore the requests for assistance for larger infants, children, and even geriatric patients. There is the most demand for the larger preemie (1.6 kg) and full-term sizes of hats and booties, etc. Most hospitals welcome blankets and quilts for going home. Feel free to vary colours with the season and use patterns you have and enjoy making.
PLEASE contact hospitals directly to confirm their needs and to confirm their mailing address. Hospitals that are not familiar with The Ruth Mailbag Group will find it easier to respond to samples in each size. I recommend that you bring or send one of each size item that you construct. Label each with size and name of item. For example, kimono small, kimono medium, kimono large. Then, the hospital can respond, “Yes, we can use medium and large, but not small.”
I encourage you to send items directly to the hospitals. Be sure to use the complete address and the title of the liaison person on each package. Enclose your items in plastic bags or line the box with a plastic trash bag to prevent water damage. There is no need to package each item individually. I encourage you to attach a Ruth Mailbag Group label—with your name and email address—to each donated item or at least one for the hospital. Some of the hospitals will send personal replies to acknowledge every shipment--large or small. Others do not. I suspect that staff members are busy with urgent life-saving efforts. In some cases, your items are divided among several departments and the recipient may not know who sent the lovely hats and booties. Enclosing a self-addressed stamped postcard or envelope may help ensure a reply if you live in the same country. In any case, don't let the lack of a response discourage you. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. (Note: You might wish to send elsewhere if you NEVER receive even a brief acknowledgment of receipt.)
As more and more people learn of the needs of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), some hospitals may be "flooded” with very tiny hats. PLEASE make hats in a range of sizes, as well as blankets, mittens, and/or other baby garments. There are full-term infants in NICUs, too. PLEASE contact your local hospital to learn what is needed. Chat with the Director of Volunteers, the Director of Child Life, the Nurse Manager of the Nursery or NICU, ICN, or Special Care Nursery, the Director of Paediatrics or the PRO. You can provide warmth and comfort to residents of your own community! You will make a difference in the lives of others. This is a very rewarding project!
NOTE: The Ruth Mailbag Group participants provide the supplies for their projects and deliver directly to hospitals, nursing homes, social service agencies, etc. The newsletter provides information, and hospital updates. See current and previous issues on our Facebook page, blog, Ravelry group or pick up the links on twitter.
1. Yarn for hats should be washable (not wool).
2. Do NOT smoke or work on projects in a room where someone is smoking.
3. Keep these projects away from dogs, cats, or other pets.
4. You may use partial skeins leftover from your projects. Combine colours into stripes.
5. Seasonal colours, pastels, sports team colours, bright colours, etc… may be used.
6. Wash hats that become soiled in construction. Do NOT use fabric softeners.
7. Package your completed items in plastic bags to protect from soiling. More than one item may be placed in a plastic bag.
8. Make hats that are STRETCHY. These will fit various sizes and be more comfortable.
9. Use very SOFT yarn for preemie and full-term hats.
10. Fabric paint is a suitable alternative to embroidery on toys and finger puppets.
11. Keep booties in pairs with yarn or a large safety pin. NO STRAIGHT PINS, please!!!
12. Booties stay on best if there’s a ribbon or chained yarn tie around the ankle. Even if the pattern does not specify this, you can always add it. Secure ribbons or chains with a few hand stitches to prevent pulling out and swallowing.
13. Pompoms should be tied on—not glued on. Pompom makers are available in craft stores or made by wrapping yarn around a 1.5” x 2” piece of cardboard.
14. A satin ribbon bow on the top of a hat is easier and less bulky. Thread 1/4” satin ribbon onto a tapestry needle. Weave in and out of the top of the hat. Tie a bow!
When knitting or crocheting, please keep in mind the approximate sizes for these infants. Head sizes for the infants in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit vary, we need hats for preemies of 1.6kg and new born babies.
MY FAVOURITE BEANIE FOR TINY BABIES
Cast on 90 sts.
1 x 25g ball 3 or 4 ply.
1 pair 3.25 needles.
Cast on 90 sts. Work in double rib to 17cm.
Decreasing row *K2 tog, P2 tog, repeat from * to end. Work 6 rows in single rib.
Break off yarn long enough to thread onto a needle and pull through stitches.
Sew up with a flat seam.
Happy charity crafting!!!
Joy Coetzee – Founder
The Ruth Mailbag Group