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Special Hands Create 'Bears from the Heart'

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This week is National Volunteer Week and it is fitting to highlight the dedicated and creative volunteers who create handmade items for patients at St. Mary’s Hospital to provide comfort, warmth and smiles. 

Three volunteer groups – the MOMS Club of Lexington Park, the Fifth District Homemakers Club and the Ladies Ministry of Encounter Christian Center — provide special items to the patients at the hospital. The largest group of items donated is the “Bears from the Heart,” which are small bears created in different colors and patterns all with red hearts sewn on their chests. The bears are given to young patients. More than 300 of the bears were distributed in 2008.
 
The three groups also create blankets for children and infant layettes. Adults in the Cancer Care and Infusion Services Department often receive blankets and afghans made with the volunteers’ caring hands.
 
“Every stitch is love,” said Peg Taylor, craft chairwoman of the Fifth District Homemakers Club. She and a group of about 25 women gather at the Northern Senior Center in Charlotte Hall to stitch the bears, shawls, lap robes, small “hug” pillows for surgery patients and underarm cushions for mastectomy patients. “It’s very rewarding,” Taylor said.
 
The nurses in the hospital’s Perioperative Services Department have commented on how patients who receive the bears “light up when handed a ‘friend’ with its colorful smiling face.”
 
“Working with the talented individuals in these three groups has been wonderful,” said Mary B. Cheseldine, volunteer student services coordinator at St. Mary’s Hospital. “They are creative and always looking for a way to ease and comfort patients. I truly thank them for all they give and the love they sew, crochet or stitch into each item.”
 
To learn how you can volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital, visit www.smhwecare.com or call (301) 475-6453.

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