SOMERS POINT — Nearly 50 women gathered at Grace Lutheran Church on May 8 to celebrate women helping new mothers.

Stacks of pink, blue, yellow and green blankets lined the table with tiny, colorful knitted caps strung above them in the church hall. The creators of all those warm and cuddly keepsakes spent the afternoon looking at just how many things the volunteers had made.

It was the 12th annual Stitchers Club baby shower. Organizer Bettie Cross, of Northfield, said the women knit hats and baby blankets that are given to the new mothers and their babies as they leave Shore Medical Center. Seven years ago, the women of Epiphany Lutheran in Pleasantville lent their collective knitting talent and have been part of the effort since 2012. Members of the parishes added to the supplies for the new mothers and their babies by donating new baby outfits.

Epiphany Pastor Janet Gasbarro, of Absecon, attended the luncheon and said she was impressed with the amount of work the stitchers put in each year. “The volunteers gather with a sense of love and create a remembrance for the new families to treasure, and that is something very special,” said Gasbarro.

Shore maternity nurse Lauren Matalucci, of South Dennis, called the effort by the volunteers phenomenal and a huge help for the new mothers. Matalucci said about 1,100 babies are born each year at Shore and, thanks to the stitchers, they will have enough items on hand to give something to every mom who.

“Every new mom gets a knit hat for their baby, and without a doubt the moms tell us it is the most treasured item they leave the hospital with, and we feel so fortunate that the volunteers continue to remember Shore and remember our new moms and their babies every year."

Matalucci said they have mothers who come in to deliver who have nothing prepared for the new baby when they go home. Through different partners the hospital is able to give the moms some of the basic supplies they will need.

Organizer Bettie Cross said many of the women who make the baby blankets and the hats switch gears after the shower and put their prowess to use knitting for sailors at sea.

“We call it Seamen’s Christmas, and the volunteers knit sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats and vests for the seamen. We send cards, candy and personal items to the Christmas at Sea program, and they are sent to those serving on ships around the globe," said Cross. "We have been told the handmade items are much appreciated and really help those serving in rather inhospitable corners of the world."

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