Members of the Grace Stitchers, the Grace Lutheran Women and the Epiphany Lutheran Women donated hundreds of items, many of them hand-made, to the maternity unit at Shore Medical Center.
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," said Bettie Cross.
The Grace Lutheran congregation is involved as well, donating newborn outfits and diapers for the babies to take home as they are discharged. They 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 beautiful, soft 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, each one destined to be a family heirloom.
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. 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," said Bettie Cross. "I welled up. I told the mom that I have been making these blankets for 12 years, and I never know what happens after I give them away." As Cross explained, the mother's eyes filled with tears, and she hugged Cross and thanked her, saying, 'I cannot even tell you how much I appreciate this blanket. It is the only blanket I have for my baby.'
Cross concluded, "That is why we continue to do this, to support all the new mothers and their babies. It's also to support the great work done at Shore Medical Center as they care for the new babies born in our community."
Nicole DeCicco, Nurse Manager of Maternal Child Health, 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. I am so appreciative of these women and thankful for their kindness and heartfelt donations. They create such beautiful blankets that are each a forever keepsake."