Elissa Redmiles is a sixth-grader at The Learning Community International in Columbia, has provided packages of baby blankets and other infant items to hundreds of needy mothers and their newborns over the past five years. Elissa can pinpoint the beginning of her “Baby Blanket Project” to a January morning in 2000. “I was thinking about all of the things I had, and the mothers and babies all over the world who had hardly any of these things,” she said. After discussing this with her mother, Elissa decided that there were six basic items that every baby should have: a blanket, bottle, bib, book, booties or socks, and a toy.
She began a letter-writing campaign seeking donations from family members, friends, and others in her community. As contributions come in, Elissa shops for her six basic items, bundles them into individual packages and then contacts hospitals or other organizations that serve pregnant mothers needing financial assistance. So far, she has collected $2,500 and many donated supplies, enough to deliver packages to more than 300 mothers in America and Israel. “It really is a magical thing to think that you have made many people experience a little joy in their hard lives,” said Elissa.