TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Three East Texas moms are giving stockings of hope to mothers with NICU children in East Texas hospitals.
The women told East Texas News why it’s important to support NICU mothers who have children in the hospital during a pandemic.
Katie, Jennifer, and Jayme are three East Texas moms who are collecting monetary donations to sponsor and support a NICU mom this holiday season. All three mothers experienced premature deliveries, and this year, they plan on continuing the tradition of giving back.
“All three of us got together, and we decided we wanted to give back to these moms,” said Katie Skinner, one of the three moms. “We know how hard it is to be there. It’s not fun. It’s really easy to get depressed and get down, and we wanted to lift somebody’s spirits because someone had done that for us.”
The idea started with mom, Jamye Read. Her son was in the NICU for three and a half months. She said she’s given gifts back to 75 moms so far.
“It makes me happy and delighted to be able to give back,” Read said. “I feel like this is my calling. God put us through that for a reason, and I wanted to be able to use my gifts of encouragement to help other moms. It feels really good to make a difference.”
The idea began as necklaces and later evolved into stockings filled with blankets, gift cards, and other items to make their experience better. Jennifer Rasberry said having support is crucial.
“These NICU bonds and things that we have together are so important, and we just want to continue that,” Rasberry said. “Even more so now because of the pandemic. It’s more isolating, and you don’t get that support system. So, just anything that we can do just to lift their spirits up just a little bit.”
Skinner described what it’s like to give back every year.
“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. It really is. It brings back a lot of the hurt, the scared feelings that you have while you’re in it,” Skinner said. “But it also brings back the good memories. When we were there, we couldn’t have made it without people walking alongside us during the darkest moments of our lives.”
In their second year, their plan is to help 40 families this year. The cost per stocking is $35.
The deadline to help the moms give back is on December 19th. The mothers say you can help donate by contributing funds via Venmo or PayPal.