Belle Schwartz of Succasunna, an avid crafter for years, has been named one of the winners in the Joann’s Fabrics Handmade Heroes contest, in recognition of her creation and donation of hundreds of handmade pieces over the last year.


During the coronavirus pandemic, Schwartz, a life member of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), West Morris Section, has been knitting and sewing as a way to help others. Says the honoree, “My knitting needles and sewing have been keeping me busy and sane during these challenging times, and I have truly enjoyed making these pieces and giving them away.” 


Her work during the pandemic has included the following:


* She’s sewn several hundred fabric face masks, which she donated to the Roxbury Public Library for distribution to seniors in the township and others in the community. In addition, she has sewn and donated masks for an elementary school in Millburn and for the school where her daughter teaches, in Lawrenceville.


* She’s made elastic extenders for the staff at Merry Heart Nursing Home in Succasunna, and she gives them out to staff at medical offices whenever she or her daughter has a doctor’s appointment. She also offers them to schools for teachers to take, as needed.


* She’s made 250-plus small, hand-sewn, stuffed, fleece “feelie hearts” (an NCJW, West Morris community service project) that she’s donated to Jersey Battered Women’s Service and the Morristown Soup Kitchen (which includes one in each box of meals delivered to someone in need).


* She made pillowcases that she’s planning to donate to the Morristown Medical Center Cancer Center, to be given to children who are hospitalized.


* She knit preemie hats for Capital Health in Hopewell (her grandson was born there and he was a premature baby, who came home with a donated hat), and St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville.


* She knit purple hats for Click for Babies.


* She is currently making “ditty bags” for the Seamen’s Institute. These bags each include a handmade hat, a scarf (which she has also made to be included in the bags), and sample-size toiletries. So far, she’s made 26 sets.


NCJW, West Morris co-president Diana Grayson, who nominated Schwartz for the award, says, “Belle is an exemplary volunteer who uses her talent and creativity to enhance the lives of others. Whenever there’s a need in the community for something like fabric face masks or knit hats, she always comes forward to help meet that need. We are very proud of Belle, and hope that this recognition inspires others to follow her example.


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