Public Service Projects

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As a non-profit organization, we encourage our members to actively participate in meetings, programs, and public service projects.  For many years, the Chapter has supported the Anne Arundel Medical Center and other area hospitals by making Wee Care Gowns and other items for their Neo-Natal Unit.

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Wee Care Program.  SAGA members sew and smock simple bishop-style gowns and donate them to local hospitals to clothe babies who die at birth or shortly after. Many groups also donate smocked bonnets for premature infants. 

The idea for the Wee Care gowns came in 1986, from the Rose Trellis Smockers chapter in Portland, Oregon. Members Chris Owings and Nancy Newell were looking for a distinctive public service project for chapter members that could be made quickly, would require inexpensive materials and would teach beginners new techniques, yet be worth the time of more experienced members. Owings, a registered nurse and childbirth educator, and Newell, a pattern designer, seemed chosen to discover the need for these gowns and determine a way to fill that need. The Wee Care project members sew and smock these gowns and bonnets, embroider blankets, and create beautiful garments to donate to local hospitals to clothe babies who die at birth or shortly after.

The Wee Care projects seem to have opened many unexpected channels for communication and emotional healing, as women have noted that stitching the tiny gowns helps them to talk about their own losses.

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The project is a gratifying experience for many chapter members to participate in, especially when letters like the following are received: "This note is to say thank you to the individual who donated their time to smock a small gown for our local hospital. My grandson was born on February 3rd. How excited we were until about four hours later when he became critically ill with a genetic disorder. We said good-by to him on February 5th. He was dressed in a white gown with blue smocking at the neckline and on the sleeves. We were grateful for the donation of this gown as we did not have knowledge that our time was to be so short with him. His parents have the gown as one of the few things actually used by their son. Again, we thank you for this gift of love."