My plan for this year is here: http://preemiepresents.blogspot.com/2009/04/2009-preemie-project-and-march-for.html
The story behind this project is here: http://preemiepresents.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-i-am-doing-this.html
WHAT I NEED: (with the idea of creating 40 identical gifts)
- Donations. I buy most of the items for the gifts myself, and it is easiest for me to receive donations and then buy things when they come on sale. Also, I can sometimes get a discount from stores (particularly online stores) for this project, so the money can go further sometimes if I am the one spending it. ALL DONATIONS are very carefully put into a separate bank account and used wisely!
- Blankets. Lovely, warm, cuddly handmade blankets made with love stitched right in. This is where handmade means the most to me.
- Hats. Knitters unite! I want hats. Hats to fit a peach. Hats to fit an orange. Hats to fit a grapefruit. Preemies struggle to control their body temperatures, and keeping their heads nice and cozy goes a long way in keeping these tiny creatures comfortable.
- Clothes. Micro preemie outfits, preemie outfits, 0-3 month outfits. Most important is in the preemie range, usually around a 4-6pound size, as a "going home" outfit. But realistically, many babies won't be going home for months and they need their own little clothes while they are getting better in the hospital. Donations help, but if you buy any of these items yourself they still get used.
- Candles. I will be soliciting a bunch of handmade candle vendors on Etsy this year, but I'm not sure how far that will get me. These gifts are designed for the PARENTS mainly, and a little, glowing, fragrant candle can go al ong way in clearing your mind of their angst. Last year I used donations and bought a ton of candles from Ikea, this year I'd like to put a little more focus on this item and see if I can get better fragranced items, and would LOVE to get more handmade.
- Hand Sanitizers. This stuff gets used a lot with a preemie. We had to use it before the nurses would let us in the room every time, and when we got home with Henry we used it a lot as a precaution as well, since a sickness in a preemie is a lot harder than a sickness in a full term baby. Last year I used donations to buy full sized Bath & Body Works hand saitizers. I'd love donations of these full sized bottles, or money to purchase them myself.
- Coffee. Parents of newborns need coffee anyway, the parents of a preemie even more so. Well, at least we did. ;) Last year I bought small 2-3 serving bags of flavored coffees. This year I'd like to try to get larger bags if possible. A full sized bag of ground coffee from Starbucks, Peets, Caribou Coffee etc... are they on sale at the grocery store? Get a discount? Grab them ans send them to me! Otherwise this is another place donations will go.
- Thank You Cards. Last year my fellow Etsy card makers and I were able to put 5 handmade Thank You cards in each gift. These parents will have a lot of people to thank. I kept the thank you's gender neutral and purposely NOT happy looking thank yous - much more pretty but generic - because realistically some of these parents may be going home without their child, and their thank you notes shouldn't have puppies and rainbows on them.
- Socks. Preemie socks, nice and itty bitty, for the same reason hats are needed. Last year I was able to get a discount on price from an online shop, but still bought more with donations and put them in the bags.
- Chocolate. Last year I took hundred and hundreds of Hershey Kisses and wrapped them up in little bags with white bows on them. I'll be doing the same thing this year, and would love donations of Hershey Kisses or the money to buy them. The best time to do this is after Halloween when all the candy goes on MEGA sale! That would be a great time to get EXTRA chocolate as well because seriously? That is probably the most important part of the bag!!
- Developmental Toys. This is a new goal of mine this year. In talking with one of the nurses last year, she suggested that I donate items for the nursing staff to give away to families they identify as having a greater need. I'm lucky. When Henry was born early we had nothing for him, but we were able to go out and buy the crib, buy the blankets, buy the extra clothes we'd need. But there are SO many people who can't do that. And who also can't afford to give their child some of the extras we gave Henry to help him as he continued to develop with delay. At 2.5 he is still significantly delayed in speech and gross motor skills, and he's not alone. I'm looking for donations of crib mobiles, black & white soft blocks, picture cards, and other toys you'll find in the "developmental" category for newborns.
- Going Home Items. This is also for the nurses to give away to parents of preemies that they feel need a little extra help going home. This is where the newborn & 0-3 month clothes would be used. socks that are slightly bigger. Baby blankets. Other items that can be sent home with families who need a little extra hand, and who the nurses can help on the sly without them having to ask.
- Preemie Diapers. This is also a new goal of mine. Wouldn't it be nice to send some families home with a free pack of ridiculously expensive preemie diapers? Yes it would!
Gifts will be assempled in November for delivery the week of Thanksgiving. The gifts will be non denominational and non holiday specific so that they can be distributed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New years depending on how many families the hospital is helping at the time. The 2nd round of donations - all the "loose" items - will be delivered the week of Christmas.
So far I have solicited exactly zero people, but hey, I'm just starting! I'll be looking for knitters, crafters, card makers, candle makers, store employees with discounts to share, online stores offering discoutns or donated goods, big shopw like Target and Toys R Us to see if they will donate to the cause, every friend and family member I have, and maybe even making an Amazon Wish List to list a bunch of things that people can just buy and mail to me.
Actually... I think the Amazon list will be my 1st priority! I'm so full of good ideas. ;) I'll post a link when I get it sorted out!
Here we go!!! This year is going to be AWESOME, I just know it! I'm aiming for 40 gifts this year, 20 per hospital, but if I get less than that, I'll just distribute what I have between the hospitals.