Katherine - posted on 03/18/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )
Some babies born at Union Hospital are being swaddled in handmade blankets that come from an unlikely place — the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary.
On Monday, prison staff brought a large collection of items that had been crocheted by inmates — 71 hats, 25 blankets, five mittens, three scarves, two booties, a crocheted bear and sleeping dog.
The items were presented to the hospital's Maternal and Child Services Department. The 32 inmates who made the items participate in the prison Life Connections or Challenge programs.
Life Connections is faith-based, while the Challenge program focuses on mental health and addictions issues.
The inmates participated in an effort called "crocheting for a crusade," said Chaplain Scott Bonham, manager of the Life Connections program. Prison staff contacted Union and asked about possible community service projects for the inmates.
"Most of the inmates had never crocheted before. They had to learn," Bonham said.
The inmates, many of them serving life sentences, have been crocheting for the past several months.
"We're trying to institute a way for these men to give back to the community, a way for them to think of people beyond themselves," Bonham said. The goal is for the inmates "to think of people in the community they've never even met and show some compassion and care."
The prison program has had other community service projects, but this is the first time inmates have crocheted items for newborns.
Some inmates already knew how to crochet through the prison recreation department, and they taught the others. "Some of the men are spending 20 to 25 hours per blanket," he said.
An inmate who made five blankets said he couldn't wait to get out of prison to teach his daughter how to crochet, Bonham said.
All of the yarn was donated through the assistance of Sister Dorothy Rasche of Connecting Link in West Terre Haute.
The crocheted items will benefit newborn babies in the hospital's Maternal and Child Services Department, said Kim Perkins, Union's director of marketing and public relations.
And some of the larger hats will benefit patients in other departments, such as the Hux Cancer Center.
Joanne Goldbort, Union's director of maternal and child services, said the crocheted items "will be a benefit to our babies. We have families that don't have anything, so we can at least wrap our babies with warmth" before they go home.
Jennifer Harrah, nursing care manager/NICU nursery and pediatrics, said the crocheted items add a personal touch.
"I think it helps take away the hospital feel with the standard hospital blankets and hats. You get something handmade and it kind of can personalize a baby's bedside a little bit more," she said.
Bonham said inmates are proud of their efforts.
"This is the first of what we hope will be many deliveries," Bonham said.
In 2011, Union Hospital delivered 1,600 babies.
Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com
I don't know....at least they're doing something with themselves!