May 20th, 2002
From Project Coordinator, Vicki Knapp:
I finally have a few minutes to share our wonderful day at Jacobi with you. The weather was superb, nice, bright and sunny, the trip into the Bronx was not too bad with traffic. We arrived a tad bit early, actually 45 minutes early, and were directed to the loading dock of the hospital receiving department where two nice gentlemen met with us and proceeded to unload all the boxes that were tightly packed in the van. The boxes were loaded onto flatbed carts and we proceeded upstairs like a caravan to the NICU unit, where we were greeted by numerous people who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of all the wonderful gifts that they had been told would be arriving. The area was festive with tables that had been set up for a buffet luncheon with finger sandwiches, coffee, tea, fruit, cheese, crackers, pastries, and a sign that was made and hung on the wall that said "THANK YOU TLC FOR ANGELS".
The boxes were displayed with their tops open so that everyone could get a close look at what was in them. A table was provided for items to be displayed on the other side of the room, so everyone had an equal chance to see close up all the wonderful and beautiful items all of our volunteers made. Photographers and a TV reporter took tons of shots of all the items.
The hospital had invited Channel 12 (local channel of the Bronx) and The Bronx Tribune (newspaper) to cover the presentation. They also had a professional photographer that was hired by the hospital to take pictures. The Chief of Staff, Executive Directors, Nurses, Doctors, Assistants, and Office personnel came from all different floors to see what TLC had brought. Everyone was oohing and aahing and couldn't believe all the wonderful items that our volunteers had made, and were amazed to see some of the distances when looking at the tags how far some the items had traveled to be presented to their hospital. The TV lady was in awe that we even had some items from Hawaii. They were speechless when they saw so many items, such as Angel Cache boxes and Lovie Dolls that had been made by children. They thought it was so remarkable that children wanted to help babies.
We had the opportunity to present some items to a precious little baby boy that was going home that day. Xavier was 3 weeks old and a miracle. When he was born they did not think he was going to make it past a couple of days, but Monday he was able to go home dressed warmly in a lot of love provided by several of TLC's volunteers. The parents could not get over the generosity and expressed their heartfelt appreciation.
Later we went back to the main area, were Murf, Kaye and I were presented with a bouquet of flowers each by the Chief of Staff, a speech was made by him telling us how wonderful they feel that our group is and how they are amazed at all the loving, generous hearts you all have. He also related that he was jealous, that he was definitely not craft oriented and he respects highly anyone that is. We were taken on a tour of the NEW NICU that Jacobi is in the process of building and were presented with a request that we felt was an honor. They have expressed that they feel that TLC is now part of the Jacobi family, and they presented us with special pins in remembrance of Sept. 11. It is an American Flag with a Rose. Then they extended a special invitation which we felt honored to receive. They have requested that TLC be present on opening day and they would like very much to have a TLC item in each and every new isolette and baby bed, representing the true meaning of The Heart of Giving.
They have also asked us to assist them in implementing a program within Jacobi. They want to hold classes to teach the young mothers how to craft, not only to be able to provide for their own children, but to maybe help replenish Jacobi when needed. We brought in several patterns for crochet, sewing and knitting, and even brought in a small box of yarn to get them started on their idea. The nurses were thrilled when we told them we would be glad to come and assist in some of the first classes they might hold to help them with ideas.
We saw many babies on Monday, and listened to the excitement of all the nurses buzzing around saying they cannot wait to bring some of the blankets into the NICU, to put some of the colorful isolette covers on, to see the babies in the hats that were given.
We had on many occasions that day had to explain over and over as people were coming off the elevator, who saw all the boxes of items, that would come over and look, would pick something up and ask how much. We had to explain that they were NOT for sale, they were gifts for the babies. We got a good chuckle when we overheard one woman as she was walking away after being told that none of the items were for sale, she remarked to her friend, "Oh, they must be having a baby shower for someone."
Murf was able to get a small amount of pictures, my camera was being utilized by one of the nurses, so I have some, but the majority were taken by the hospital photographer. Nina Johnson, PR person of Jacobi has assured me she will make sure we get complete copies of all pictures taken, she will make sure we get a copy of the newspaper article when published, and she will also send me a copy of the TV interview that was aired on Monday night.
Nina also was truly touched by the one of the blankets that Katy made and was cradling this blanket in her arms, when I asked her if she wanted me to put it in the correct box for her, she said no. I am taking this to my office to get a picture of it to put in the hospital newsletter with the story of who made it and how.
I feel that this presentation is a definite milestone for TLC. This presentation was definitely our largest so far, I cannot thank the 67 Ladies enough that participated in the Jacobi presentation for their over abundance of generosity. A total of 3149 individual items, that were already complete sets, or matched into sets when they arrived and an abundance of single items for the nurses to decide what to give each baby when needed.
Murf, Kaye and I said our goodbyes to the hospital, climbed in the van and drove back to Murf's almost in silence as we each were caught up in our own thoughts and emotions, trying to memorize each and every smile, tear, and Thank You that everyone requested that we extend to each and everyone of you. The Chief of Staff made the speech that all babies/children are Angels, and they also feel that all the members of TLC are True Guardian Angels of the Angel Babies, and they have the utmost respect and now deem every one of you Jacobi family.
Over 3,000 items!!
Jacobi Medical Center
Dear TLC Friends,
How blessed we are at Jacobi Medical Center to be the recipients of your magnificent and most precious handiwork! We would like to take this opportunity to personally thank and "verbally'' hug each and every TLC member who has donated time, effort, and an enormous amount of love on behalf of our babies.
With deepest appreciation and affection,