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Every December, something very special (and very adorable) is tucked inside the holiday stockings at one California hospital — BABIES!

Image via Nikyah Pfeiffer, used with permission.

Since the 1930s, Redlands Community Hospital has been swaddling December babies in cozy stockings sewn by local volunteers as a special gift to the parents.


The Linen Committee — a group of hospital auxiliary volunteers who mainly took care of sheets and towels — first started the project. By the 1960s, it had really taken off, and a full-fledged sewing committee was needed just to make the stockings.

Today, the yearly tradition is undertaken with the help of the Redlands Sewing Center and a strong community of people who want to keep the tradition alive.

"We accept all volunteers that are willing to come and help us out," says Sue Carlson, event coordinator at Redlands Sewing Center. "We don’t even ask them to bring their own machines. They use our store machines, so they just come down."

"Last year, we had a customer that came in just to buy something," she adds, "and we showed her what was going on, and she sat down for like an hour and donated some time. ... To me, that’s what it’s about."

Image via Sue Carlson, used with permission.

Seeing people come together to make these stockings is an amazing thing. But what's even more amazing is seeing the heartwarming reactions to stocking-clad babies.

"We don’t really announce it," Nikyah Pfeiffer, marketing manager at Redlands Community Hospital, says. "It’s more of a pleasant surprise that we like to give to our patients."

Of course, some parents do know about the tradition — it's hard to keep something this adorable a secret from year to year — but that doesn't take away any of the magic.

That's because the tradition means a lot to the families. "I think it makes them feel like they’re a part of something bigger than just having their baby born in a hospital," Pfeiffer says. "It helps bring a sense of community, and they’re always grateful that they had their baby here."

Unfortunately, the tradition was paused for a while in the 1990s but then brought back by Sylvia Terifay, a longtime volunteer and coordinator for the stocking tradition, in 2005 with the help of the Redlands Sewing Center. She passed away this year, and the community is dedicated now more than ever to continue the tradition in her honor.

One thing that will never disappear is the lasting effect Redlands Community Hospital has had on families over generations.

Wrapping babies in holidays stockings isn't the only way the hospital is working to build up the sense of community either.

Image via Nikyah Pfeiffer, used with permission.

Since the early 1900s, the hospital has had another tradition — Baby Day — that takes place every five years. On this day, the families of the babies born at Redlands Community Hospital gather for one big group picture.

The hospital hangs Baby Day photos in a hallway dedicated to the history of the community,and it has become a landmark of sorts with local families.

"They bring their children and their grandchildren back to the hospital to show them their particular picture," says Pfeiffer. "It’s just a generational thing that’s really great to see because you don’t get that type of connection very much with hospitals anymore."

Image via Nikyah Pfeiffer, used with permission.

These traditions have managed to forge a powerful bond between the hospital and its community that has lasted for decades.

And this bond will continue for generations to come.

After all, who's going to get tired of seeing a newborn snuggled into a holiday stocking?

Um, no one.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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