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St. Catherine Thanks Local Community Knitting and Crocheting Groups for Donating Gifts of Comfort and Love

October 2nd, 2014

Thanks to the creative efforts of the Smithtown Senior Center, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Siena Village Center, Blue Point, Kings Park and East Northport Homemakers, Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church’s Friendship Garden, St. Joseph Church’s Martha’s Hands, Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church of Smithtown, Fairfield Crafters, Smithtown Stitchers, and many passionate and talented volunteers from local parishes—St. Catherine of Siena has a full supply of handmade hats for newborns and beautiful and colorful blankets for palliative care patients.

To keep up with production, it takes effort from key people in the community, which is why on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, the administration of St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center held a unique get together in honor of the many groups mentioned above. Because of their efforts, patients at St. Catherine of Siena are provided with a feeling of comfort that is always received with such gratitude. And, for their skillful knitting and crocheting efforts, an appreciation event was in order.

St. Catherine’s Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Gara Edelstein welcomed the talented group and thanked them, “the important service you are providing to the patients at St. Catherine of Siena makes them feel so special—when they receive one of your beautifully crafted blankets or hats, they feel loved and cared for—thank you so much for what you do.” Also in attendance was St. Catherine’s Chief Medical Officer Jason Golbin, DO, who was enamored by the beauty of the blankets, and was nostalgic of his own grandmother.

Providing both baby hats and blankets for palliative care patients are items that are in high demand, so it took some coordination to bring the initiative to life. Community Relations Director Heather Reynolds connected with local churches, homemaker groups and individuals to ask them for help. Without hesitation, she had several interested to donate their time to knit or crochet, but they would need yard and materials, and lots of it. Luckily, with the assistance of Father Fred Hill of St. Patrick’s Church in Smithtown, he was able to secure the materials without any difficulty. “Just when I have distributed the last blanket, a little concerned we may not be able to replenish them in time for the next patient in need, I come back to my office, and to my surprise, there is always bags of yarn to keep the initiative going,” said Mrs. Reynolds. “I know that Father Fred has quietly dropped them off and we can continue fulfilling the mission and ministry of the hospital.”

“Our palliative care patients are so appreciative of the blankets provided—they provide comfort in so many ways—we are so thankful to all the volunteers who donate their labors of love,” said St. Catherine’s Palliative Care Manager Roberta Levesque, RN.

Knitting and crocheting is a creative way for many to turn their talents into volunteering. Many of the women who participate in the knitting initiative at St. Catherine commented that the art of knitting and crocheting is slowly fading away. In an effort to prevent the extinction of the delicate skill, many have started teaching the art form at local libraries to teenagers. Local Girl Scouts have been answering the call to learn and are now earning community badges for creating baby hats and donating them to local hospitals.