Sometimes, all it takes is a vision and a little extra time to make something incredible. This was true for Anna Yarberry and her mother when they realized a need that they could meet for the babies in the NICU at Baptist Health. Years of collecting an assortment of sewing materials, Anna’s mother became unable to craft any sewing projects because of her failing eyesight. In May of 2015, Anna’s mother passed away, leaving her with an important decision to make… Should she still move forward with their vision?
Anna and her niece Kristina, a NICU nurse, decided, “Yes!” They should still use the materials to make blankets for the babies in the NICU. Anna began sewing blankets and giving them to the hospital in hopes of continuing her mother’s legacy of love through the donations.
Anna would finish a round of blankets and give them to Kristina to take to the hospital, which was a great system. Then, COVID-19 Pandemic hit and the hospital could not accept the blankets, due to safety restrictions. Anna and her niece did not give up and waited until they could continue, only recently at the beginning of 2023.
As of March 2023, Anna has made close to a thousand blankets and delivered their latest donation of over 200 blankets to the hospital when restrictions were lifted. Anna explained her passion by saying, “It is a simple act that seems to make my niece and her coworkers happy and makes the parents of these precious babies smile. That makes it worthwhile”. Anna continues to create blankets as time allows, seeing an opportunity with her vision in mind and remembering her mother with each finished blanket.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Month, let’s take a moment to appreciate the amazing work of people like Anna and Kristina. They saw a need and took action, using their skills and resources to make a real difference in the lives of families with babies in the NICU.
Their story reminds us that anyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small the action may seem. It’s the compassion and generosity of people like Anna and Kristina that make our communities stronger and more caring. Let’s thank all the volunteers out there who are making a difference in the world, one act of kindness at a time.