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

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all!


NEWSLETTER 12 OF 2014


NEWSLETTER 12 OF 2014

 

From letters and messages sent to me by participants in The Ruth Mailbag Group I realize that what I started 12 ½ years ago as a personal volunteer project has grown well beyond anything I could have imagined back then. Those letters and messages really make my day! I never thought that one person could make a difference, but I’ve changed my mind about that.  What you do does make a difference in this world and I hope that you will continue to do all that you can to warm and comfort others in need. Each hat, blanket, gown, toy, and shawl does affect someone who really appreciates your concern and kindness.

 

As you make New Year’s resolutions for 2015, please include the continuation of donations of hats, booties, shawls, toys, blankets, etc… to comfort the sick & those in need.

 

Thank you for all that you’ve done in 2014 and very best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season.  Looking forward to continue the warm association we share in the coming year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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 and family, UK; Carol Bower and friends, England; Doreen Brits; Dorris Bullock and Scholars Court Knitting Club, England; Eileen Conway, Scotland; Ffion Wilkes, England; Frances Labuschagne; Gerty Kotze; Jocelyn Williams; Judy Maccarone; Karin Strauss; Kay Thorne and the Geluksburg ladies; Ladysmith Gazette; Ladysmith MOTHWAS; Mariette van Staden; Mary Ann Oosthuis; Meisie Foster; Melanie van Vuuren; Mr and Mrs Suresh Riga; Renate Dunham; Retha Fountain and Rosemary Earp Jones.  Errors and omissions regretted.

 

You will be as pleased as I am, to see that our packages from abroad are coming through after the long postal strike in our country. 

 

GIFTING

 

Sunday, 30 November 2014: Gifted 24 premature babies and 23 newborn babies, moms very appreciative of their packages and purple hats and so were the staff; so happy, pleasant and thankful for the help their mommies are getting.  I visited the “baby with no mommy” and left a package for her and the staff pointed out another baby girl whose mommy was admitted to ICU and asked if I would like to leave a package for the baby as I could not visit mom in ICU, I was happy to do that.  Sad story today was a mommy in KMC who lost her baby this morning and had asked to be left in seclusion, understandable, so her door had been closed and she was having no visitors, please remember this little Angel Baby and her mom in your prayers, as well as the mom I mentioned above who is in the ICU.  Bless you all and thank you for making these baby packs possible each week, you are all stars!!!

 

Sunday, 07 December 2014: Gifted 17 premature babies and 17 newborn babies, moms very happy with their packages and so were the staff.  I visited the “baby with no mommy” and left a package for her, the staff particularly glad to receive a face cloth among other items in her pack this week.  Bless all who contribute and thank you for your generosity and time that goes towards making these baby packs possible, even during this time when we are still reeling from a postal strike that lasted nearly 4 months.  What stock comes in each week now, is going out to the babies the very next weekend, so, we continue to be provided for.

 

Christmas and New Year Babies:  Despite our very, very low stock I have been able to pack 2 very nice boxes of baby goodies including goodies for the moms which I will be taking around to the hospital in time for Christmas and New Year.  Bless you and thank you for all your contributions to these special packages, your support is much appreciated.

 

Sunday, 14 December 2014:  Gifted 24 premature babies (several twins) and 15 newborn babies, moms appreciative of their packages and the staff most helpful.  The “baby with no mommy” has been discharged.  I was able to add small soft toys to the packs today and hope to do so through the rest of the month into January.  Bless you and thank you for your contributions to these packs each week, your support is much appreciated.

 

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.  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.

 

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
May for 20 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
December for 1 January – New Year’s 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!

 

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!

 

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 good 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.

 

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

http://danettesangels.tripod.com/patterns/emilybonnet.html
http://danettesangels.tripod.com/patterns/emilysweater.html
http://danettesangels.tripod.com/patterns/hats.html
http://danettesangels.tripod.com/patterns/hugsblanket.html

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.

http://danettesangels.tripod.com/patterns/hugshat.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/18/premature_baby_jacket2_feature.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/18/premature_baby_set_feature.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/15/v_necked_cardigan_feature.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/17/2needle_cardigan_feature.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/18/hand_knit_cardigan_feature.shtml
http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/articles/2006/04/15/seamless_neck_down_cardigan_feature.shtml

 

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 by 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.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT - Please add a note with your email address so that I may acknowledge your parcel.  Thank you for your support!

 

The Ruth Mailbag Group Meetings - 1st Saturday of the month - February through November - 14h00 to 16h00 - Juana Maria Home, Francis Road, Ladysmith, KZN - Thank you, Juana Maria, for your hospitality!  Bring your charity knitting, crocheting, & sewing; Any yarn and or patterns to swap, etc.  December - end of year function; January - in recess!  See you there!!!

 

Hints and tips on Knitting for premature baby charities

 

What size do I knit?  Don't put too much emphasis on trying to perfect the size of a preemie garment. There is a great variation between premature baby sizes that an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is approximately the same as their chest circumference. The average preemie baby's chest measurements are 8"-14". However clothes of all sizes are required for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.

 

Which colours do I choose?  Pastel colours are the most popular but in Africa they appreciate colour and the brighter the colours the better they like them. Apart from the obviously baby pinks and blues other colours which may be used are: Lemon, Cream, White, Mint green, Peach, Lilac and Aqua. It is recognised that bright and dark colours should be avoided as they often make preemie babies look frailer. When knitting burial garments the advice suggests its best to use colours such as white or cream and to avoid pinks, blues and lilacs, as they aren't suited to the colouring of a stillborn baby.

 

How do I know which yarn to use?  Premature babies have very delicate skin and can often be allergic to wool; therefore it is best to avoid garments made with a wool mix. Acrylic yarn is more suitable when knitting for preemies. Ideal yarn to use for preemie knits is baby double knit or 4ply yarn. Most preemie patterns will use these.

 

Do I need special fastenings?  Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.

 

What do I choose to Knit?

 

Cardigans - These are the most frequently used preemie clothing. V-Necks or round necks are the best to knit for 'give' and ease of dressing. Cuffs and shoulders should have plenty o of 'give' to help make dressing easy. Stretchy knits such as garter stitch work best as they provide the necessary 'give'.

 

Blankets - Preemie baby knitting charities usually appreciate blankets. Avoid lacy patterns or blankets with large holes in can be dangerous for little fingers.

 

Hats - The best type is the ventilator hat as they allow the babies to have head scans without removing the hat. Keep the designs simple and preferably without any ties and fastenings. Check the specific sites for the knitting patterns they recommend.

 

Booties - Garter stitch is the best to use for booties as it is stretchy which makes it easier to put the booties on. It is better to knit shaping at the ankle to provide grip rather than use tie or cords.

 

FREE SAMPLES/TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES - Each week our group gifts up to 40 newborn and premature babies at the state hospital.  In these baby packs we place basic items for the baby’s well being e.g. creams, lotions, clothing, and a little something for the mom, too, as the vast majority of the mothers who give birth to their babies at the state hospital are destitute these small personal gifts are a treasure.  The moms are most appreciative of the assistance we give them.  All gifts are given free of any charge and that is why we have to solicit donations to support our cause.  Please help us if at all possible.

 

 BASIC NEEDS - Combs; Toothbrushes; Toothpaste; Soap – Baby & Mom; Vaseline/Barrier Cream; Face cloths/sponges – Baby & Mom; Towels – Hand & Baby

Receiving Blankets; Baby Blankets; Diaper Pins; Cloth Diapers; Gowns/Sleepers/”Babygros”; Infant Socks/Bootees/Hats; Sweaters/Jackets. (Preferable sizes Premature/Tiny baby/Newborn/0 to 3 months/1 -3 months). (New / very good quality second hand / handmade).

 

RUTH MAILBAG COMMUNITY NEWS

 

I love hearing from members and friends, so, please do not hesitate to send us a note / message with your news / views / interviews / etc.

 

Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 6:43 AM, Renate Dunham <sdunhamldy@gmail.com> wrote:  Dear Joy, It is with sadness that I have to resign from your group with immediate effect.  I am moving to Krugersdorp to live with my daughter and grandsons.  It has been a most stimulating and blessed time in association with you and the group!  Time has marched on and changes are inevitable.  I remain with fondest memories Yours Renate Dunham X

Renate, we are sorry to see you leaving, missing you already and wish you every happiness with your daughter and grandsons.  Your friends at the Ruth Mailbag Group

Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 11:17 AM, Snoeks Desmond <snoeks@global.co.za> wrote: From Beanies and Blankets for Babies - Late in 2013 Joy Coetzee suggested I start a group to make and collect things for babies born in King Dinuzulu Hospital in Sydenham, Durban. Little did I know how exciting the year ahead would be! We have collected and made and delivered gift packs to babies, we have collected and given moms soaps and lotions from hotels and guesthouses around the world as well as holding lucky draws in which moms have received a range of gifts. Some of the items we received have been too big for babies and some items have been for adults. These we have sent to Creighton in the southern Drakensberg where they are distributed to children and adults who are in need. When our contact in Creighton asked us to see if we could get a bicycle, wheel chairs, and matric dance dresses we tried and succeeded (much to our surprise!).

Three wool shops in the Durban area collect and make donations and this helps as it cuts down on the delivery and collection of wool and completed items.

We have made contact and received donations and knitted items from people in Australia, England and Scotland as well as around South Africa. Some of these people have never met each other but continue to offer support. Some people in Durban have met several times at Antique Café to share tips, chat and encourage each other. We have a Facebook page and an email group and it is through these that we share photos taken by one of our members. In this way we are able to acknowledge all gifts. Several of us have asked for wool instead of birthday gifts and this has enabled us to provide wool to those whose purses cannot keep up with their needles.

All the way through this year we have been able to turn to Joy for support and advice and we enjoy being part of a larger group as well as linking with groups in other parts of the country and the world.

I think that we have all benefited from being part of this initiative – there are warm babies, happy moms, happy children and adults as well as the many generous people who want to help others and have found this to be a good way to reach those in need.

We will make our final delivery on Christmas Day where we will wish all moms and babies a Happy Christmas – as we now wish all those who are part of this great network.

 

Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 4:27 PM, Doreen Brits <doreenbrits@worldonline.co.za> wrote:  Hi to all, the Ruth Mailbag Group monthly meetings have (sadly) come to an end for this year...

The Busy Bees Group will have their last get together “therapy” morning on the 10th. With all that was achieved until now it is no surprise the year passed so quickly! Before winter, jerseys were knitted and collected, 2 crèches benefitted from this project. Koekie Jacobzs Senior Centre had their 1st fete in May, so we did some crafting for the needlework table. We don’t have political issues, so when wool was donated by a political party we all joined in to knit jerseys, aged 2‐6 years. September month was the Juana Maria Frailcare Home’s fete and we did some knitting/crocheting for their needlework table. Koekie Jacobzs Senior Centre had their 2nd fete in November and more crafting was done to support them. Every month at the Ruth Mailbag Group meetings those of us that are members of both groups could still hand in something they had made for the babies or border Moms...  During the year I also collect clothing for the patients at the Psychiatric Complex of the Free State (Bloemfontein) that I take to them in December.  The Ruth Mailbag Group's support is much appreciated.  Now it is time to relax! Season Greetings to all, enjoy the festive season and a blessed 2015. Doreen Brits

 

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

 

FORUM:

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-ruth-mailbag-group
https://twitter.com/RuthMailbag
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ruth-Mailbag-Group/153666104700531

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Abandoned babies vs. baby safes


I am very disturbed at the number of babies being abandoned across the country and sadly many die before any help gets to them...  this morning I found this article in a newspaper and wonder if it would be feasible to attempt to install baby safes at our government hospitals...  Comments welcome, please.

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

 

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