By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — For the babies and nurses at the Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn neonatal intensive care unit, hand quilted blankets made with love bring smiles to their faces.
Dearborn Heights resident, Ruth Smith, 77, created and delivered 36 hand quilted blankets to the hospital’s NICU July 16.
Smith was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La., and moved to Dearborn Heights in 1968 with her husband who came to work for Ford Motor Co.
Smith learned to quilt five years ago when she went home to Louisiana for a visit and reconnected with seven friends who were members of Granny’s Hugs of Gonzalez, La., an organization that meets weekly to produce similar blankets for hospitals in that state.
“My mother was a seamstress so I think the ability to hand quilt came naturally for me,” Smith said. “I learned as I went a long and have become very good at it.”
Smith said the group sends her a box with a cheater kit containing squares and patterns from Louisiana to make the quilts for the babies in Dearborn.
“It takes me anywhere from one day to three days to make a single blanket depending on the pattern and design,” she said. “I chose to donate the quilts to Beaumont because that’s what my friends in Louisiana did with their quilts.”
The recent donation to Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn wasn’t Smith’s first. Last year, Smith also created 25 hand-quilted blankets for the hospital’s NICU.
“My favorite part of making the quilts is giving them to the hospital and seeing the faces of the families and nurses,” Smith said. “Each one is made with love and includes the label, ‘Made with love by Granny’s Hugs of Gonzales, Louisiana.’”
Each donated blanket is placed over a baby’s incubator, and goes home with the baby.
“The generosity of such beautiful quilts made for our most fragile patients in the NICU is very heartwarming gift that the Granny’s Hugs Quilting Circle group does for our families and infants,” NICU Nurse Manager Lauranne Gosses said.
“When our families are presented with the quilts which are made with love, it reiterates the caring love of so many people whose family is struggling while having their infant in an intensive care unit in hopes of being able to eventually take their infant home. Such compassionate care.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at email@example.com.)