A Walker Valley High School senior is calling on the community to help her expand her Bibs 4 Babes effort.
Jennings Kelley started Bibs 4 Babes in October 2012, after seeing a lot of teen pregnancy and wanting to help.
“I just kind of felt that taking something that I love and giving it away to someone who could benefit from it [would be a good thing],” Kelley said.
Kelley is trying to get other people involved through a volunteer day on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Bradley County UT Extension Office (95 Church St. SE).
There will be supplies available to complete bibs and other needed items at the event.
“Since January we have donated 185 handmade items. The purpose of Bibs 4 Babes is to show support to new and expecting mothers who work with New Hope [Pregnancy Care Center],” Kelley said.
Even people who cannot sew can still be helpful to the cause. Kelley said they need people to cut out patterns, pin on “Handmade with love for you and baby” tags, iron and add ribbons.
If someone cannot attend the event, Kelley said she has links to online tutorials she can send them on how to sew a bib. They can simply drop the items off.
Kelley has secured $1,000 in grants this year.
“One is from VECustomers Share, which is $500, and then a Disney Friends for Change $500 grant also,” Kelley said.
These grants have allowed Kelley to purchase a sewing machine and fabric.
“What I hope to do is to go into New Hope and have a sewing class for the moms who are there so they can learn how to sew and make things for their own child,” Kelley said.
She said applying for the grants is a lot of work. Each application asked for an overview of how she planned to use the money and a list of references.
Donations of grosgrain ribbon, flannel fabric and wide double fold-biased tape are being accepted
In addition to bibs, Kelley has made nursing covers, infant shoes and burp clothes.
New and expecting mothers at New Hope purchase Bibs 4 Babes donations with Baby Bucks earned by attending parenting and other classes offered at the office.
She is also holding a diaper drive for New Hope in conjunction with the event.
“New Hope takes diapers and distributes them to their moms who need them,” Kelley said.
Kelley said 4-H members and other friends have already committed to being involved.
In preparation for the event, Kelley has begun cutting fabric for the patterns so people can come and sew them together.
“We probably have close to 200 items cut out,” Kelley said.
Kelley said a variety of sizes are needed because New Hope serves mothers until their child is 1 year old.
As the support for Bibs 4 Babes grows, Kelley hopes to establish partnerships with other pregnancy centers in Southeast Tennessee.
She tries to ask what New Hope needs and drops off donations once a month.
As a 4-H member, Kelley chose Line and Design as her program of focus.
“Leadership and citizenship is a big thing in 4-H,” Kelley said. “Once you choose your project you focus your 4-H career around that.”
Kelley said she has always enjoyed sewing, just like her mom and grandmothers.
“I help teach sewing classes at 4-H to our younger kids,” Kelley said.
For more information, contact Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org.