Monday, March 11, 2019

Hands2Help - Learn More About Jack's Basket!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the beginning of an interesting week, when we will be learning more about each of the five Hands2Help 2019 charities!  I've asked each of the people who recommended the charities to tell us more about why they care so much about the cause. I hope this will allow you to feel a little more personally involved with each one!  Today Tracie of Riceford Streams is taking over the blog to share about Jack's Basket, her recommendation for one of this year's charities.  And so, without further ado, I'll turn the blog over to her!


Jack's Basket Celebrates Babies with Down Syndrome

Carissa Carroll is a mother with a big heart and a bold idea. During 2012 she gave birth to Jack, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome a short time later. As a result of her family's experiences, she founded Jack's Basket, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate babies with Down syndrome. Jack's Basket also strives to ensure that every new and expectant parent is provided with resources and avenue of support with in the community.  Plus, they aim to educate medical providers on how to discuss the diagnosis in an unbiased way in hopes that the birth of a child with Down syndrome is celebrated like any other.

You Make Me Better

This year Jack's Basket is celebrating World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 with the slogan You Make Me Better.  Wow, do I love that message!  So, I'd like to tell you about two people who make me better.

For twelve years my family lived across the street from a young man named Eric. Shortly after we moved into his neighborhood, Eric told me about his best friend who used to live in our house, and he missed her very much. It turned out that our home held happy memories for him, and he enjoyed coming over and talking about those times with me. Eric also participated in Special Olympics, so when he raised funds, I'd hear about sporting events he enjoyed with friends and how much the camaraderie meant to his family. He also told me that he was saving his money to buy a better gaming system. Doesn't that sound like almost every 20-something guy you know? I don't know what my stereotype of someone with Down syndrome was, but I'm sure I had one. Eric showed me thathis life was pretty much like everyone else's, revolving around work, family, friends, and our community. I thank God for the gift of Eric.

Nearly thirteen years ago, another special person entered my life: my niece Amelia. I was visiting with my sister at the hospital when a nurse interrupted us with the unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome. Because of that experience, I can easily imagine how much it would mean to a mom and dad to receive words of welcome, celebration, affirmation, and encouragement from Carrissa Carroll and others who work with Jack's Basket.

Last year I asked Amelia if she'd like to learn how to use my sewing machine. Well, she was very excited to sew! She chose fabric to make a few projects, and I noticed that almost all the fabrics had a dog motif. Oh, how happy I was to find another person who appreciated my stash of colorful canines. Now Amelia has a sewing machine to use at home. But not just any sewing machine. It's the one I bought as a teenager a very long time ago!

Let's Wrap Babies in Blankets of Love

I learned about Jack's Basket from Louise and Nancy, two quilt bloggers who enjoy blessing people with their talents.  I regularly read both their blogs, so when I saw a baby photo from Jack's Basket on Instagram, I recognized the quilt was from Nancy!  That was pretty thrilling to see a baby with Nancy's gift of love.  So, if you want a day brightener, I suggest following @jacksbasket to admire photos of babies with their baskets.

Handmade from the Heart for Jack's Basket

Family members, friends, and hospital staff can request a Jack's Basket. And yes, there is a literal basket filled with handmade booties, a hat, and a quilt or blanket.  Other items include newborn toys, burp cloths, board books, pacifiers, and resources for the parents.  If you'd like to donate handmade items or baby gifts, there are instructions on the Jack's Basket website. In general, handmade booties, hats, and blankets/quilts (approximately 36" square) must be made from soft flannel, cotton, or knit materials.  I subscribe to their monthly newsletter, and often there's a request for burp cloths, which can be purchased or handmade.


As great-aunt to sweet Harper Rae, who was born last year and also diagnosed with Down syndrome, this is a charity near and dear to my heart. I plan to knock out several sweet, simple 36" square quilts for this charity - what a great way to use up some fun panels or simple patchwork! I hope you'll also give some thought to donating to this charity.

Be sure to come back each day this week and learn about the other four charities, too! It's going to be a great year with lots of options!



And if you want to know how to sign up for this year's Challenge, go to this post - the sign-up is about halfway down the post!  We've already got 162 people signed up (WOW!!!) but there's plenty of room for more!


  1. Oh, the love in your words today. This is so wonderful for those families, and to have extra support when needed from those who know how it really is, that is such a blessing.

  2. Yup, you've convinced me that I can certainly make a few small quilts for Jack's Basket!

  3. What a sentimental and sweet post. We also have friends who have a child with Down's Syndrome, and so that cause is very special to us as well. Jack's Basket is a worthy organization that does so so much good.

  4. I've been planning all year for my leftovers and scraps to fit into 36" quilts for this group and holding onto them, awaiting your call. I am so excited to be able to participate this year and this charity is a wonderful one. I grew up with an aunt who had Down Syndrome and know very well all they are capable of, despite the stereotypes. She was a wonderful woman and I feel lucky to be able to do something to help welcome more amazing people like her into the world. (I'll be filling out the sign-up form soon!)

  5. This is a beautiful tribute to people and families living with Downs Syndrome. Thank you for writing this up and getting the word out there that these people are like us and have similar wants, needs and desires. Great post!!! 36" quilt coming your way, Jack's Basket!!

  6. Great post explaining Jack's Basket. Heck I think this explanation of it's needs will definitely spur on the oh so generous members of our Challenge participants.

  7. Small quilts made from the leftover scraps of our larger projects would be easy to do!

  8. Many thanks to Tracie for sharing the word on Jack's Basket! The work they are doing to welcome Downs babies into the world is loving and wonderful. I hope lots of quilters will consider donating their work to this wonderful charity. Who can resist how fun and fast baby quilts are to make and share? :)

  9. I had heard previously about Jack's Basket. It inspired me to find a similar organization in my county and it turned out to be about 8 miles from my house. It's called Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia (DSANV). They also prepare welcome baskets. I took 2 dozen quilts and fleece blankets there last month. I am the Project Linus Chapter Coordinator in Northern Virginia and our donations usually stay in our area. I made a connection with DSANV and they will know to call me when they need more quilts.

  10. I've loved this ever since I read about it on a blog and then went to see what it was about on the website. I'm SO glad you picked this one!

  11. Thank you, Sarah, for your intro to this group that sends out love and support to families that could use some affirmation that all life is good. I love what you're doing here.


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