By Gwen A. Jacobs
Special to HAKOL
In 2006, an appeal was sent out from Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg for some comfort lap blankets for the Oncology Department. The blankets would be for the patients receiving chemotherapy infusions, who often experience chilling during treatment. A group of women from Temple Covenant of Peace and B’nai Abraham Synagogue responded to that request. Under the guidance of Gwen Jacobs (TCP) and Jessica Ytkin (BA) a monthly meeting was arranged on the basis of the floating crap game from the Broadway show “Guys and Dolls.” Even those who could not knit or crochet responded with cash to buy yarn.
The result was that some 25 women managed to hand make and donate an extraordinary number of blankets, reflecting various levels of expertise, from very simple to beyond beautiful. Some of the women who participated did not belong to either congregation, but wanted to join our endeavors. They came as far away as California, Arizona and Tennessee. No two blankets were alike. All were made with love, were machine washable, and received a label reading “Made with love by B’nai Abraham Synagogue and Temple Covenant of Peace.”
The hospital was overwhelmed both emotionally and physically. Their need was satisfied, and our vision was expanded. Our donations have gone to Jewish Family Service, Meals on Wheels and the 3rd Street Alliance (a shelter for women). Our criteria are very simple: we give where there is a need to nonprofit organizations.
To date, over 750 blankets have been donated. We are looking to expand our numbers, so we would most heartily welcome new members to our fun group. We meet once a month (mostly) in each other’s homes, serve coffee, tea, a small nosh, and large dollop of friendship.
We take comfort in the knowledge that wherever the need is the greatest, these dedicated women answer the call with nimble fingers and caring hearts!
If you are interested, or know of someone who would love to learn to knit, crochet or just donate time and or money, or if you have a suggestion for a charity, please contact either Jessica Ytkin at 610-253-8251 or Gwen Jacobs at 908-859-6509.