Written by Steve Mosco, email@example.com Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Blankets have comforted children ever since the first knitter put needle to fabric at some point along the timeline of human history. And Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park continues that tradition in a special way — by hosting a blanket-knitting program every Wednesday, with the handcrafted creations going to children undergoing cancer treatment through the nonprofit organization, We Care Blankets.
And recently the knitting ladies at Our Lady of Lourdes, 855 Carmens Rd., hit a milestone, donating their 1,000th blanket to the worthy cause of comfort.
“It was a momentous occasion,” said Beverly Artz, a volunteer from We Care Blankets and a Plainview resident. “The women that show up to do this are amazing. And their creations are unbelievable. They come up with color combinations you wouldn’t think of in a million years.”
The women Artz speaks of is a collection of mostly senior citizens from the Massapequa area. The come to the church every Wednesday at around 10 a.m. to knit or crochet unique blankets — they also talk, building strong friendships on a foundation of caring and giving.
“It is a nice way of giving back,” said Artz, adding that anyone can show up on a Wednesday morning to join the blanket crew. “The women are so dedicated and fascinating. They all belong to the church, but they are spending their own personal time doing this for children who need comfort.”
Artz, who has volunteered for We Care Blankets for about four years, collects the blankets from Lourdes about once a month. The blankets are then distributed to hospitals across the eastern seaboard and are then given to children who need a little warmth and reassurance during their difficult time.
As an added personal touch the knitters include a note in each blanket, complete with their name and address, so that the children can respond with a ‘thank you’ — fostering a relationship that goes beyond fabric.
“Some ladies prefer to remain anonymous, but the ones that include notes have a real sense that they are helping a child personally,” said Artz. “It makes them feel like they are doing something extra good.”
Artz was a PTA mom for many years, but after her son became an adult and moved on from school-centric meetings, she still wanted to give back to her community and beyond. It was through fellow parishioner Tamara Baker, founder and driving force behind We Care Blankets, that Artz was able to find an outlet for her giving nature.
After about a month of knitting and crocheting, a ‘wrap’ is held, where blankets are collected, wrapped and packed for delivery, all done by volunteers. At each of these events as many as 250 blankets are readied to comfort a sick child.
“The thought of children shivering and feeling scared during cancer treatments really drives all of us involved in this process,” said Artz. “So many people are involved, from the volunteers to the hospitals, and they are all in it to help the children.”