Donated afghans will stay in the area

Carllene Napolitano is thrilled that Donna Peak couldn't find a way to get 103 crocheted and knitted afghans to New York City.

Director of the Community Pregnancy Center in Carson City, Napolitano said she was "just stunned" to walk into her office Monday to find 25 homemade afghans waiting to be given to mothers and their newborn babies.

"They're absolutely beautiful, and there are so many of them," she said. "I gave one out, and the mother was in tears because she was a mother who had nothing.

"To get something handmade and brand new for a baby when you have nothing is special. A handmade blanket speaks of somebody's love and concern for not only them, but their new babies.

"I'm sure she was a little frustrated in not doing what she intended, but we're sure grateful," Napolitano added.

Peak, of Indian Hills, was touched by a December 2001 news special on mothers having babies whose fathers were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wanting to help, Peak asked other local women to knit Afghans, just one for each of the 17, fatherless infants. Area knitters and crocheters turned out more than 100 blankets, but after months of work, Peak and her husband, Vaughn, haven't been able to find a reliable way to ensure those for whom the blankets were made would receive them.

"We've done everything we could," Peak said. "It wasn't the original intent, but at least people around here are going to get some use from them. One of the women (who crocheted a blanket) said, 'They've been in those boxes long enough. They need a home.'"

After calling all the women who donated, Peak began delivering the baby afghans mostly to area agencies dealing with new mothers.

The City of Refuge, a Gardnerville home for pregnant women and teens, received 25 blankets. Amy Francis, one of the women at the City, said the group "really appreciated them and thought they were really nice.

"The girls will take them for the babies," she said.

Charlene Sloan, director of Step 2, a Reno treatment and parenting program for women who are chemically dependent, said she was "thrilled to death" to get 10 afghans, which will also be given as gifts to new mothers.

"It was a wonderful gift, and we thank them very much," Sloan said. "We don't get them frequently. I'm keeping them under lock and key so the new babies get them. As soon as the moms see them, they'll want them."

Peak said she still has about 35 afghans to distribute. While Peak said the experience has been draining, she hopes people will still find it in their hearts to donate a piece of homemade love to those that need them.


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