Mid-Michigan basket weavers use craft to help Isabella County newborns in need

A community project taken on by a group of hobbyists from all around Central Michigan has benefited newborns in Isabella County for several years now.

The Rosebush Weavers was created in 1989 and became the Heartland Basket Weavers Guild in 1995. Basket weaving enthusiasts who live across the Great Lakes Bay Region participate in the group creating baskets each year that are given to the William Ellis Brockman Infant Pantry. The Infant Pantry is administered by the Community Compassion Network (CCN) and both are located at the William and Janet Strickler Nonprofit Center in Mt. Pleasant.  

“A lot of the guild members don't live in our area, but they all work together,” says Pat Sherlock, CCN Board Member and Director of the Infant Pantry. “The baskets are beautiful and so are the items that are in them. It's quite a treat for us to give those to these families.”

Carol Matthews, Vice President of the Heartland Basket Weavers Guild, says that the collaboration began five or six years ago when the group was looking for a community project. Since then, she estimates that they’ve completed 75 baskets to benefit families with a newborn through the Infant Pantry.

Once the baskets are created, they are then filled with items that a family with a newborn would need such as diapers and wipes, and handmade items such as receiving blankets, hats, or booties.

“They're usually gone within a couple of months,” says Sherlock. “It's exciting to be able to give them out, they're just so beautiful and so it's great for the families because a lot of them are struggling just to be able to buy diapers.”

For more information about the Infant Pantry, visit ccnfeeds.org/infantpantry. Those that are interested in participating in the Heartland Basket Weavers Guild may contact Carol Matthews at cmhappycamper@aol.com.  
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Liz Fredendall is a photojournalist and communications professional with experience working with nonprofits. In addition to her work with Epicenter, Liz manages communications for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, runs her own photography business, and writes for several publications. During her free time, Liz enjoys reading and exploring with her husband Erick and their Corgi, Nori. Contact editor@epicentermtpleasant.com or follow her on social media @lizfredendallphoto.