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 -

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

How you can help

there are many items you could donate to


Click for Babies

Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in November

Especially purple hats for newborn and premature babies CLICK FOR BABIES is an initiative to help educate caregivers about normal infant crying, how to cope with crying and the dangers of reacting to crying in frustration by shaking or harming an infant.  Purple Caps will be distributed to babies in November.

Wool/buttons/lace/ribbon/fabric & sewing cotton

Blankets/clothes/toys/toiletries for preemie & newborn babies

New and good quality 2nd hand goods

All items donated are much appreciated

THE RUTH MAILBAG GROUP, For charity – NO retail value



Then why not join us or send in your finished items.  Please remember to add your name and address / email so I can let you know they have arrived...

Fax 086 516 4618; Related link -

Thursday, 20 September 2012



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

The Ruth Mailbag Group was born 10 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, flannel, broadcloth, and other fabrics suitable for children's toys, apparel, and blankets/quilts. 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. Although the focus of The Ruth Mailbag Group’s efforts has been premature and newborn infants, it has been impossible to ignore the pleas for assistance for larger infants, children, and even geriatric patients. 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. The Ruth Mailbag Group is already assisting the hospitals 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.

Or, you might want to make items for your local shelter. Often women and children have no clothing except what they are wearing. Or, you might want to contact social service organizations that work with poor families, unwed mothers, or families in need. Or, you might want to make lap blankets or shawls for geriatric patients at nursing homes.

Keep in touch!!!

THANK YOU:  Anonymous, Northern Natal Trader, Denise, Karin, Gail, Methodist WA, Judy, Retha, Janet, Pam C., Meisie, Doreen and Gerty.  We greatly appreciate all of our donors and volunteers, without you our group would not exist. Please know that if your name was left off our list it was unintentional and all of your efforts are valued and appreciated.




Shirley Brownlee:  I have not knitted a stitched for 8 days as we were in Greece. I did take my knitting/crochet stuff along, but it was so hot I couldn't even think of doing any crafting. Other than that, I have been concentrating on smaller items like hats and booties, especially Christmas things. (It takes a while to get a parcel to you, so I don't want to leave it too late).  I haven't forgotten the purple hats! There will be a few of those in the next parcel.


Retha Fountain:  I am busy with premature sets again after the Halloween caps. It is always nice to alternate a bit then it doesn't become boring.



September 9: Gifted today 19 newborn and 13 premature babies; Staff very helpful and moms most appreciative; very chatty group of moms in KMC, very refreshing to be with them. To all who regularly contribute to these baby packs, thank you for your support, it is much appreciated by all.


September 15: Thank you, Pam Chadderton, for responding to the call for a bed for a needy gentleman, the mattress is a huge help and to the anonymouses who donated a sheet, a blanket and a cushion a big thank you to you all... I am sure that our gentleman is much better off now than sleeping on a bare concrete floor. Bless you and thank you.


September 16: Gifted 22 newborn and 10 premature sets, Joan as always I was honoured to have one of your little white sets in the bottom of the bag which I quietly left with a little baby angle.  Staff appreciative but very busy, moms grateful and the KC moms, full of chatter, simultaneously asking, “What did you bring us today?”  As you will have guessed, a couple have been there for a while and grown to expect my visit.  To the new moms, a collective explanation was given and they were soon smiling and all looking like ‘kids on Christmas morning…’  and then you wonder why we do what we do…  no wondering necessary, it gives hope to the hopeless and purpose to our day!!!  Bless you and thank you for your loving contributions.

MEETING:  Every first Saturday of the month at 14h00 at the Mary Catherine.  Please bring donations, anything to swap e.g. patterns, wool, etc.  Any donated wool will be shared among the members.  We will discuss past projects, future projects, show and tell donations, etc.  Money for refreshments.  See you there!

l our members are... loads of donations have come back from the meeting and will be photographed soon for sharing and gifting to the babies... some members have made a start on purple hats and others on Halloween hats... very industrious our bunch of ladies and most definitely a hats off to you all for all that you do for our babies. Once again, thank you, for your support!!!



HALLOWEEN BABY - Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in October.


CLICK FOR BABIES - Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in November.  CLICK FOR BABIES is an initiative to help educate caregivers about normal infant crying, how to cope with crying and the dangers of reacting to crying in frustration by shaking or harming an infant.  Purple Caps will be distributed to babies in November.


PREMATURITY AWARENESS MONTH: November is Prematurity Awareness Month® and the Ruth Mailbag Group would like to focus attention on premature birth. The awareness month kicks off on November 1.  November 17 marks World Prematurity Day, and the Ruth Mailbag Group are asking everyone to help spread the word on the serious problem of premature birth. Wear purple to show your support!  Spread the word about the dangers of premature birth. To mark the occasion the Ruth Mailbag Group are collecting hats, booties and blankets for premature infants, your gift helps provide comfort and support to families with a baby in the NICU.


CHRISTMAS BABY – Closing date for this project – 1st Saturday in December


NEW HOSPITAL LISTINGS – (If you require a full list, please send me your email address and I will send it to you.)


Name of hospital: 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 who will receive donations for distribution: Miss Zama Biyela - Public Relations Officer – 079 618 7142; Tel: 033 506 7100; Fax: 032 506 0102; Cell: 079 618 7142; E-mail:

Needs: Term + preterm baby clothes, hats, booties and baby blankets




Rensche de Fortier from Wol en Naalde Groep is the coordinator of the Springs group called, KNIT & KNOT FOR PREMATURE, AIDS AND CANCER BABIES.  She is a wonderful driving force and amazing what her and her helpers are achieving.  Rensche writes:  “A few ladies help me with the knitting by hand.... Petro, Marthie, Sarah, and Mercia..... I send the yarn and they do the knitting.... Gerda offered to crochet the baby blankets for the premature babies now...... We do it for the cancer, aids and premature babies......I take it by myself with soap, shampoo, lotion.....”   Bless you and thank you for your beautiful and hard work.

Yvonne Kidd: My mom and the ladies are all knitting away and enjoying the patterns, thanks!

Doreen, family and friends & Gail:  Thank you for the photos, please visit our facebook page to see them.




Congratulations to our friend and member, Gail, on the wedding of her son Brandt and Yolandé!  Our hearty congratulations to the proud bride and groom, may God shower their married life with lots of love and happiness.


Thank you, every one of you, for your efforts on behalf of the babies!!!


Happy crafting / shopping,

Joy Coetzee – Founder - The Ruth Mailbag Group


To send donated items: The Ruth Mailbag Group, FOR CHARITY – NO RETAIL VALUE, C/o Foto First, 180 Murchison Street, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa.


Contact details: Fax 086 516 4618; Email



The Travelling Bookshop – AWESOME BOOK SALE!!!  Egerton Primary School, Ladysmith, 8 & 9 November 2012, 8th 10h00 till 17h00 & 9th 07h30 till 10h30.  Method of Payment – Credit card, cash & cheque.  Contact Rob Andrew, E Cape/ Natal Consultant on 082 879 8860, fax 086 545 4103,  A huge variety of brand new top quality books at AMAZING PRICES!



FREE CHRISTMAS PATTERNS TO KNIT & CROCHET (Ginger bread lady doll) (Santa shelf doll)