Pioneers Sew Up Special Deliveries in Ohio
Ohio is landlocked in the middle of the country, more than 500 miles from the ocean. But Pioneers in the Northeast Ohio chapter took inspiration from the U.S. Navy for one of their most enduring volunteer projects – Operation Baby Seabags.
Over the last 10 years, these Pioneer heroes have partnered with the United Service Organization (USO) to embrace the military community in northern Ohio. Specifically, they have reached out to support the military wives left behind while their husbands are deployed for active duty. These young women are often expecting babies – while caring for young children far away from their extended families.
Diane Reckart, president of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Pioneers, noted, “We wanted to show these courageous mothers-to-be how much we appreciate them and the sacrifices their families are making to serve our country. What better way to ease the stress of separation they experience than to receive a personally-designed care package just for them?”
Operation Baby Seabags was born to surprise these expecting military moms with “a baby shower in a bag.”
Seamstresses Deployed to Duty
Pioneers with sewing machines were deployed to sew colorful drawstring bags patterned after the duffle bags sailors used to store their gear while at sea. Then more volunteers jumped onboard to fill up the seabags with baby items including onesies, blankets, bibs, wash sets, and stuffed animals. Off and on for over ten years, Pioneers have been creating and delivering these baby seabags, with over 370 special deliveries to date!
Each year, an additional item was added to the seabags. In 2017, crocheted hats were included, while in previous years, reading kits and handmade “boo-boo bunnies” were tucked inside. The moms-to-be were even pampered one year with the addition of bath and body products.
An Army of Volunteers
Over 190 Pioneers have heeded the call to service and helped Operation Baby Seabags thrive over the last ten years. From the seamstresses and shoppers, to the partnership with the USO to help with the special deliveries, this army of Ohio Pioneers looks to continue its very successful campaign in the years ahead.