PARAMUS, N.J.—Late in 2013, Betty Cherkezian and Nancy Burdman of New Jersey, came up with the idea of “Stitched with Love,” a program to provide newborn children in Armenia with much needed hats and blankets. The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) liked the idea and adopted the program as part of its relief efforts in Armenia.
Over 40,000 babies are born in Armenia each year, yet few Armenian hospitals distribute hats and blankets to newborns and none are distributed in small towns and villages.
Recognizing this need, “Stitched with Love” strives to provide knitted or crocheted hats and baby blankets to newborns in maternity hospitals throughout Armenia. To achieve this goal, “Stitched with Love” has reached out to Armenian communities in the United States and has received growing support from donors and knitters who wish to participate in this cause.
Patterns and designs are also welcome. Blankets should be a minimum of 30 inches by 30 inches in size. Newborn hats should be between 9 inches to 14 inches in diameter. If needed, a basic pattern is provided on the AMAA website. It is required that only acrylic worsted weight yarn is used.
The support provided from individuals, community organizations and church groups has been very encouraging and is making a real contribution to the infants in Armenia. A lady from North Carolina who recently participated in this Program writes: “My maternal grandmother was the sole survivor in her family of the Genocide. It is through her and my mother that I was passed the talent of sewing and handwork. I am grateful to God and to them for this gift and try to use that gift in service to others. Thanks for your work in making this dream of helping Armenian babies and children a reality.”
During this Christmas and New Year season, with the cooperation of the Head of the Malatya-Sebastya Administrative District of Yerevan, a special event was organized at AMAA’s Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School and Community Center for all expectant teacher-mothers of the neighborhood. The expectant teacher-mothers were welcomed in the school hall by the school principal Melanya Geghamyan, AMAA Armenian representative Harout Nersessian and the head of the Education Department of Malatia-Sebastia district. During the gathering special film was presented devoted to maternity. It was a joyous occasion at which time each expectant teacher-mother received hats, blankets and other clothing “Stitched with Love” for their soon to be born babies, as well as 2015 calendars, greeting cards and booklets about AMAA. The event was highlighted in the Malatya-Sebastya local press.
“It is the hope of the ladies of ‘Stitched with Love’ program, that there will come a time, when all the newborn babies in Armenia will go home with their mothers, swaddled in a blanket and hat made by caring individuals like you,” a statement from the AMAA reads.
For more information on how to participate and help in this effort, contact the AMAA office at 201-265-2607, or visit amaa.org and click on the “Stitched with Love” tab. Donations to cover the cost of yarn, transportation and freight can be mailed to the AMAA at 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652. To make a donation by credit card, you may call the AMAA office or visit AMAA’s website.