Rochelle Neu has always had a passion and talent for making baby blankets, and years ago she found the perfect counterpart to that passion; moms in need at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. After hearing about the work being done in the Parenting Resource Center at Sixteenth Street, Rochelle made the decision to dedicate her time and sewing skills to those moms in need – and has been doing it ever since. Rochelle struggles with a degenerative eye problem and soon expects to go completely blind, but wanted “to keep being worthwhile” until she could no longer see. To our moms she has been more than “worthwhile,” she has been lifesaving. Rochelle makes by hand and donates a variety of items to the Parenting Resource Center as fast and as often as she can produce them. She sews adult blankets, receiving blankets, car seat safe blankets, petite washcloths for infants and infant quilts. She spends approximately 6-8 hours per day sewing, making a quilt about every day and a half. In September of 2016, she celebrated her 6-year anniversary of providing us with quilts and calculated that in total she has made and donated over 1,000 quilts. In addition to the quilts, she had made and donated hundreds of receiving blankets, floor mats and infant cloths.
The center always sends her pictures of the babies on their quilts, and the families often get to meet her. The pictures she receives and the relationships she forms with the families keep her motivated to continue helping- even as her disease worsens. She remembers a particular woman that received the quilt at a parenting class and stroked the quilt the entire class with an unforgettable sense of joy and peace on her face. Rochelle described that woman saying, “she never had anything so beautiful of her own. She cherished the fact that it was handmade and that the volunteer [I] just wanted to bring warmth and comfort to the Sixteenth Street families.” Rochelle can feel how grateful the families are and how valuable the work she does is. Rochelle noted a fond memory of receiving a big card from all the parents after she had been in an accident. She truly felt their gratitude.
A heartfelt thank you to Rochelle and all the service, time and love she has provided our families. You are more than a volunteer, you are a part of our family.