Community News

A donation from hand and heart

Senior group brings blankets, smiles to children


Members of the Valley Stream Silver Threads senior group love to knit. Even more so, they love it when others can enjoy their handmade items.

Last week, members of the group donated 30 lap blankets and five baby caps to the pediatric unit at Nassau University Medical Center. Three members of the Silver Threads, along with senior coordinator SallyAnn Esposito, Mayor Ed Fare and assistant to the Board of Trustees Barbara DeGrace, made a visit to the hospital on March 27 where they go to hand out the donations.

They went up to the 18th floor and visited a handful of rooms, meeting children and teens who were there for both short- and long-term care. “It was very nice,” said Barbara Welter. “The two girls I spoke to were very grateful. I think they just liked having company, too.”

Welter, a retired nurse who worked at Franklin Hospital and then in home care, said it was nice to be able to hear the patients say “thank you.”

The members of Silver Threads have been working on the blankets and caps for several months. In the past, they would donate their items to area nursing homes. This year, Esposito, new to the role as senior coordinator, suggested giving to a children’s hospital. The ladies loved the suggestion.

“They were so happy that the blankets would be used for children,” Esposito said, adding that she picked out the ones with the brightest colors to bring to NUMC last week.

Joan Manney, a member of Silver Threads for several years, said about 25 ladies worked on the items. She said the amount of time needed to make one blanket depends on how fancy each person gets with the design.

Welter said she keeps the blankets simple, so each one takes her about eight hours to crochet.

Silver Threads meets five days a week at the Valley Stream Community Center at Hendrickson Park. Esposito said Tuesday mornings are set aside for knitting and crocheting. That’s when several of the items were made.

Shelley Lotenberg, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said she was thrilled with the donation. “We’re very grateful for their generosity,” she said. “It’s heartwarming that they took the time do this.”

Lotenberg said that there is always a need for donations like this, which can serve the pediatric, neo-natal and maternity units. After Silver Threads members handed out donations to seven patients last week, the rest of the blankets and caps were left in the hands of hospital officials to give as needed.

Children and teens appreciate items like blankets, Lotenberg said, because it creates a sense of comfort in a strange environment. They get to take the items home when they leave the hospital. Lotenberg said a blanket can also make a nice gift for a brand new mother.

Silver Threads members Monica Kerner said giving the blankets to children in need was its own reward. Manney added that seeing the kids’ eyes light up as they received the donation made her day.

Esposito said that it was important to make the donations in person. “We wanted to put a personal touch to it,” she said. “We didn’t want to just mail a box.”