For the past 15 years, the women of Grace Lutheran Church in Somers Point and Epiphany Lutheran Church in Pleasantville have been making a difference in the lives of mothers and their newborns at Shore Medical Center.
Spearheaded by Bettie Cross of Northfield, the women knit and crochet throughout the year to make beautiful baby blankets, caps and other items that they donate to the maternity unit at SMC.
The women’s mission is to give something new and beautiful to the new mothers as they leave the hospital.
“We know that for some of the mothers, this might be the only new item they receive. Every new mother should feel special, and this is our way of showing our support of mothers and families,” Cross said in a Shore news release.
The Grace Lutheran congregation is involved as well, donating newborn outfits and diapers for the babies to take home as they are discharged.
They volunteers usually celebrate their year-long effort with a baby shower luncheon, but due to COVID-19 protocols, they were unable to gather the entire group.
Recently, 12 representatives of the Grace Stitchers and the Lutheran Christian Women’s group presented Shore with all of their hand-knit items, along with a rack full of clothing for newborn boys and girls in the church’s basement.
Tables were filled with quilts and afghans in pink, blue, yellow, and green shades that will swaddle newborns as they leave Shore Medical Center. Sonia Rivera of Pleasantville showed her delicate matching hand-crocheted blankets and cap sets — several dozen of them.
Cross shared a touching story of one pretty pink blanket she crocheted several years ago.
“I was in line at the supermarket a few years ago, and behind me was a new mother. She had her baby wrapped in a pink blanket that looked like one I had made because I am the only one who uses that particular stitch,” Cross explained. “When I commented about the pretty blanket and asked if she made it, the mom told me no, that it was given to her when she and her baby were discharged from Shore.”
Nicole DeCicco, nurse manager at Shore said, “The women of Grace Lutheran Church go above and beyond every year with the baby shower. The donations from the church assure that our community’s newest mothers have supplies and clothing to care for their newborn.”