Donations to wrap recipients in warmth this winter
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 18, 2011 | 2442 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nanci Davis, who sewed more than 50 baby and toddler quilts, stacks the items at the Bartow County Women’s Resource Center while Adele Howell looks on. Howell donated all the material for the quilt project.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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For Nanci Davis and Patsy Headrick, the holidays are a time to spread good cheer. Involved in separate endeavors, the Bartow County residents are using their homespun talents -- sewing, crocheting and knitting -- to keep their neighbors warm during the winter months.

As a member of Dream Weavers, Headrick helped spearhead a volunteer project that provided 28 knitted or crocheted lapghans to Cartersville Heights Care and Rehabilitation Center. The offering was initiated by Judy Kilgore, who saw a need for these items when her uncle received care at the facility.

"It was such a heartfelt, [heart]warming thought that they would do this for our group. It was very overwhelming and very much appreciated," said Karen Tate, director of activities for Cartersville Heights. "Our Christmas party is the 22nd and we have residents that do not have family support [with] means of giving a gift. So we make sure that every resident gets a gift. Normally, we send a flier out amongst our employees to adopt a resident that doesn't have family and it was just a crazy coincidence that the exact amount of lapghans that they donated was the number that we had that needed gifts. So it was just magic, a Christmas miracle.

"As you know, when senior citizens get to certain ages, they're always cold. Even in the summertime, they just seem to be cold. ... these lapghans, [they are] just big enough to put on their laps. It doesn't get tangled up in the wheelchairs. [It's] just for added warmth mostly for the winter season, the cold months," she said, adding these gifts are special because it lets the residents know "they are not forgotten -- that they are loved and appreciated and that they know someone cares for them."

Created in 2008, Dream Weavers is a complimentary program of the Bartow County Library System. Tailored for adults, the crocheting and knitting group draws about 25 people to each meeting -- the second Thursday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cartersville Public Library's Nathan Dean Community Room B. During their monthly meetings, members of all experience levels share tips and discuss upcoming projects.

The lapghan donation was the latest in a string of volunteer undertakings, with some of the others including hats for patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and scarves for the Special Olympics organization.

"I moved to Cartersville and started working here in September of '09," Headrick said. "And I dropped in the library one day and was getting a knitting book and the gal at the desk asked me if I was interested in a group and that's how I found out about it. [The members of Dream Weavers are a] great group of people, varied in different lifestyles. But everyone is always ready to do what the neighborhood or the general population might need. ... Judy's uncle, that's how we were initially introduced to the facility.

"Her uncle was there for rehabilitation and she noticed that there were several people in wheelchairs. ... And she said, 'It's a shame that those people don't have a way to cover their laps.' And I said, 'Well, we could make them lapghans.' We just kind of created that name because of what it is. We just decided on a size and presented it to the group one night and they all agreed to make them," she said, adding the yarn needed for the lapghans, which were about 30 inches by 45 inches in size, was provided by the members, with a large portion donated by Giselle Thatch. "So 28 lapghans later, we made a presentation to the rehabilitation center [Dec. 8.]."

Headrick created three lapghans for the Cartersville Heights project, one was crocheted and two were knitted. Crocheting since when she was 10, Headrick said it always is rewarding to create items for other people.

"I think you enjoy the craft as much as the donation," Headrick said. "It's fun to knit. I knit and crochet both and a lot of the gals do. I guess you [only can] do [so] many hats and scarves and lapghans for your family so you have to start giving that work away.

"But people totally appreciate the gifts. Judy and I went [to Cartersville Heights] one night to help them make Christmas cards and they are so appreciative. Another gal in the group, Diane and her husband, Tom, they made two corn hole boards and provided the bean bags to go with that and those folks at the facility, they just thought that was amazing that people just give. People that they don't even know."

While Headrick and her fellow Dream Weavers were busy making lapghans, Davis was machine sewing more than 50 quilts for clients at the Bartow County Women's Resource Center. A mentor at the Resource Center and a water aerobics instructor at CAIR Plus Fitness Center, she was inspired to make these baby and toddler blankets after speaking with one of her water aerobics students.

"[Adele Howell] had mentioned that she had yardage, tons of material at her home and would love to give it or donate it to a project if someone would be willing to take it and make something with it," Davis said. "So I went to look at it and the first thing I thought of was maybe doing something for my girls at the Resource Center.

"They all have babies and it's not really hard to put two pieces of cloth together and put a batting in there and make a small quilt. So that was in early November. So my whole family sort of helped me out with it. My kids and my husband helped with the matching of the materials and washing it up and ironing it. So it became a family project."

Formed in 1989, the Women's Resource Center offers parenting classes, pregnancy education, pre- and post-abortion education, maternity and infant needs, life coaching, support groups, Adoption Discovery classes and free pregnancy testing. In 2010, the Cartersville nonprofit provided 228 pregnancy tests and met 1,200 needs.

"Our mission is to educate the community on the value of the unborn, first of all, and then the value of relationships of God, self and others," said Randi Winn McSwain, director of the Women's Resource Center. "What we do through the Baby Bucks program focuses on the unborn baby and making sure the mother is healthy and the child is healthy, and then the quality of life for those children once they're born.

"We're equipping parents to be quality parents and offer quality parenting to their children. So hopefully a way to measure that would be that our number of DFCS cases in Bartow County could hopefully decrease because parents are more equipped to parent and confident in their parenting abilities. So this time of year, being able to give them something as a gift of encouragement that they are a good parent and they're doing a good job and that we're proud of them for coming and bettering themselves and their children is just an honor."

While the quilts are being donated to the clients, the nonprofit normally provides items to the mothers through its Baby Bucks offering. Implemented in August, the program encourages clients to earn bucks -- by for example attending prenatal checkup appointments or classes at the Women's Resource Center -- to purchase supplies.

The items are housed in the Baby Store, located in the back of one of the nonprofit's two buildings at 18 Douglas St. in Cartersville. The room, which used to be the facility's porch, cost $5,000 to construct and was made possible in part by a $1,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. The store offers a wide array of baby items, including 10 diapers for five baby bucks, a two-piece baby outfit for three baby bucks and a car seat, 20 to 40 baby bucks.

"Some of our clients that come in have no bed for the baby to sleep in and very little clothing," said Davis, who resides in White. "[With it] being cold, I thought that would be a very worthwhile task. [It is] a little time consuming but I have more time than I have resources. So I think it was a God-led project and I think that's a very good way to benefit the girls, the clients and the babies.

"The mothers are happy that they get to look through the materials and choose just the right one for their babies. So far, we've been able to accommodate their color preferences and some of them are larger than others. ... It's a love of mine to sew. And each quilt, I prayed over the girls and the babies as I sewed and thought about them. It's a relaxing thing for me to do. And it's really brightened my holiday being able to do that for the girls."

For more information about the Women's Resource Center, call 770-382-7224 or visit www.bartowbabies.org. Further details about the Dream Weavers can be obtained by calling the Cartersville Public Library -- 429 W. Main St. -- at 770-382-4203. In the new year, the crocheting and knitting group's Jan. 12 meeting will focus on knitting basics, while the Feb. 9 gathering will cover the elements of crochet.