Members of the Peach State Stitchers, the Atlanta Chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework, took part in tzedakah benefiting breast cancer patients at Northside Hospital’s Breast Care Center in the Atlanta.

Peach State Stitchers work on blankets for patients undergoing chemotherapy. PHOTO / Flora Rosefsky

With generous contributions by PSS members raising $1,543 as of October, along with in-kind donations of fleece material, the chapter had enough fabric to make 200 soft fleece blankets for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatments.

Additionally, the Stitchers’ community relations committee – under the leadership of co-chairs Arlette Berlin and Carol Katz – met with several area seventh and eighth graders, who made more blankets at special “stitch-ins.”

This project will only grow; the Stitchers plan to reach out to other organizations in the community to help meet the needs of breast cancer patients not only at Northside but potentially also at Piedmont Hospital’s Chemotherapy department and other medical centers.

Beyond that, in January 2013, seventh- and eighth-graders at Greenfield Hebrew Academy will be making still more blankets in another PSS-sponsored workshop.

Peach State Stitchers Atlanta president Jacqueline Granath is proud of what her chapter is doing.

Tzedakah, or giving, is commanded to Jewish people by G-d, and there is a huge gratification making these blankets,” she said.

Berlin concurs.

“Something as simple as a warm and cozy fleece blanket can have such a huge impact in easing both physical and emotional side affects patients often experience during treatments,” she said. “This project reaches patients on a personal level, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.  Whether we get together as a large group or a member makes one alone at home, we are reminded of the fragile nature of life.”

Northside, a regional leader in cancer care, treats more than 3,500 patients each year. Susan Casella, RN, OCN and the hospital’s Breast Care Coordinator – Oncology Services, partially inspired the project when she spoke to the group back in September.

The rest of the motivation came from the Stitchers themselves.

“Members share a common interest in Jewish tradition and desire to create Judaic needlework and fiber projects for family, home, synagogue and other community organizations,” Berlin said. “In keeping with this goal, the Tzedakah Committee was formed out of our desire to make a difference in the lives of those people receiving chemotherapy treatments.”

SPECIAL FOR THE ATLANTA JEWISH TIME

For information about the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework or the Peach State Stitchers, Atlanta Chapter, visit pomegranateguild.org, peachstatestitchers.org or write to peachstatestitch@aol.com.