Although Long Island has yet to see any winter snow, the halls of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital have seen some impressive snowballs. To kick off the holiday season, the Stony Brook Stitchers created more than 50 handmade snowball plush toys, bringing fun and a touch of whimsy to the patients at the Children’s Hospital.
Stony Brook Stitchers sewing projects coordinator Gail Braverman and member Carmela Fuoco volunteered their time to create these toys so the patients at the Children’s Hospital may participate in “snowball fights” with hospital staff.
Founded in December of 2008, the Stony Brook Stitchers group has branches based on each side of campus. Melissa Shampine, from the Nursing Division, Cardiac Services, heads up the volunteers on the hospital side of Stony Brook and Jan Tassie, from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services, serves as the team leader for the university side. The group has gathered staff, faculty, students and community members who share a passion for creating handmade items to serve the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of patients at Stony Brook University Hospital.
The group currently has close to 300 volunteers and averages approximately 3,200 donations per year of assorted items including lap blankets, prayer shawls, preemie and newborn hats, quilts, pediatric surgical caps, infant demise wraps, memory pouches and other items. In 2019 alone, Stony Brook Stitchers donated 4,082 items. At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, their volunteers answered the call to make masks for hospital staff and patients who were using an unusually large amount of PPE. The Stony Brook Stitchers worked closely with Kathleen Kress from Volunteer Services; Paul Ryan and Tony D’Andraia of the Linen Department and so many others.
For more information on the Stony Brook Stitchers, visit their website at stonybrookstitchers.com.