Newark, NJ—On May 20th John A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Director of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), welcomed a group of seniors who have hand sewn, knit or crocheted numerous items for the babies at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. The hospital held a breakfast to honor the 21 women from the Henrietta Benstead Senior Center in Kearny for their contributions.
“We are grateful to these dedicated volunteers for such an important contribution to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and newborn nurseries,” says Dr. Brennan. “Their efforts to keep our newborns warm and comfortable are appreciated by all the families at The Beth. The parents will truly enjoy the bright and cheerful blankets, caps and other items handmade with care.”
The Arts and Crafts of Kearny group, which is located at the Senior Center, made over 150 hats, and numerous baby blankets, lap robes, booties and stuffed animals, all of which were donated at the breakfast. After the meal, the women were given a private tour of the NICU by Tim Yeh, M.D., Chairman of Children's Hospital of New Jersey and Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, so they could view some of the newborns who will benefit from their donation.
The group, who originally sold handmade items at an annual crafts festival, was searching for a new creative outlet after they decided to forgo the sale of crafts. Lucy Soriano’s son, Anthony, who is Senior Vice President of Contracting and Payer Relations for the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, suggested the group of talented women consider creating handmade items for babies at NBIMC.
The women enthusiastically responded, joining together first with some donated wool and later with money that was donated to purchase supplies.
“They were all so excited to bring in the blankets and hats as they finished them,” says Mrs. Soriano. “Each one is more beautiful than the next. Before we were just playing cards, but now we all have an important project and it has really been a good cause.”
Making the items reminded Mrs. Soriano and the other group members of a time when they created blankets and sweaters for their own children. They gather at the Center and sew in a group, sometimes talking, other times concentrating on the tiny fabric creations.
“We were all very excited about the breakfast and being able to present what we have worked on,” Mrs. Soriano added.
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