(Chelsea Update would like to thank Bob Milbrodt for the information in this story.)
Last Monday, Chelsea Kiwanis heard from Cindi Etsler and Audrey Schwimmer, coordinators of the Preemie Pal Project.
This project provides quilts for newborns in Mott Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The quilts lay atop the incubators, deadening the noise from the machines and cutting out much of the bright lighting, (needed by nursing staff but not by the babies). The quilt then goes home with the family.
The quilts are very much appreciated by the staff and families. Many children later become very attached to their quilt.
Etsler and Schwimmer had been working on their project for a while, making a couple dozen quilts, when the need for quilts kept increasing. They connected with Nancy Memmer from the Chelsea Kiwanis Club. She was serving as First Lady of the Michigan District of Kiwanis and spread the word across the state about their project.
There were 25 core volunteers in the area making quilts, but now quilts are coming from all over Michigan (and elsewhere). With many more people making quilts, the Preemie Pal Project was able to donate 1,000 quilts in 2018, and 1,514 quilts in 2019. Of course, there is opportunity for more, Mott, alone, has 1,200 newborns every year. The two ladies are expanding to donate to other NICU’s.
They are now making different sizes for older children coming in for surgery, and a small square of fabric for newborns. A few drops of mother’s milk on the square is used to effectively calm an upset newborn.
The club was also pleased to induct two new members Monday night, Haley Thomsen and David Knox. Immediate Past Governor Larry Memmer conducted the ceremony.
Monday, there will be a Valentine celebration with spouses and regular meetings will resume on Monday, Feb. 24.
Chelsea Kiwanis meets each Monday at 6:15 p.m. in the St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital cafeteria, and the speakers begin at about 6:45 p.m.
Everyone is invited to the club’s meetings to enjoy our speakers and learn about Kiwanis.
Go to www.kiwanisclubofchelsea.org for more information.