SOMERSET, NJ – On Saturday, June 10, a group of women gathered inside and outside the Franklin Park Library.  No, they were not staging a protest, but were participating in the annual Knitting in Public Day, an event celebrated in 31 countries with groups hosting 200 separate events this year.  The mission of the group gathered at the library, was to draw awareness to the Purple Hat Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse in NJ and to make purple baby hats that are used by area hospitals as part of the initiative. 

The event was planned through the joint efforts of Pam MacKenzie, Courier News Reporter and journalist for the Blog “In Stitches,”  and members of the Franklin Woman’s Club - FWC (Bonnie Martin and Irene Fisler, chairwomen of this two – year FWC initiative). This project is part of a state-wide project spearheaded by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs (NJSFWC) under which the local club operates. 

Stephanie Michaels, of Prevent Child Abuse NJ attended the event and she and Pam brought patterns and yarn to share with attendees.

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As a result of this collaboration, the Franklin Woman’s Club received donations of several bags of yarn, knitted or crocheted hats from FWC members and the general public and monetary donations to further support the project.  To date, the Franklin Woman’s Club has made or received through community donations a total of 74 hats that will be given to babies at participating PURPLE hospitals throughout New Jersey as a visual reminder of the importance to keep babies safe. PamMacKenzie’s knitting group (In Stitches) also donated another 250 hats for the Purple Hat Campaign that had been created prior to the event.

 Bonnie Martin shared, “This was a lovely day, a very special occasion with women from several communities coming together to help prevent the abuse of our smallest citizens.  If one person seeing that purple hat just holds their crying infant or walks away until the baby is calm, our efforts will have been successful.  Education is the key to ending child abuse.”

The Period of PURPLE Crying® program, developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS), draws attention and educates parents and caregivers about Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT). In this form of abuse, when an infant or young child is shaken violently, the head is impacted, leading to severe injuries and even death. A key component of the campaign is to educate people on this normal developmental phase that is temporary.

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 The acronym PURPLE represents the aspects of an infant’s crying during this time period:

  • When to expect Peak crying phases
  • The Unexpected nature of crying
  • The baby’s Resistance to being comforted
  • The Pained facial expression commonly seen
  • The Long-lasting duration of the episode
  • And the tendency for crying episodes to occur during the late afternoon or Evening.

How can you help?

  • Become a partner with the Franklin Woman’s Club (FWC) by knitting or crocheting a purple baby cap. For guidelines and patterns for knitted/crocheted baby caps, visit: http://clickforbabies.org/stitchers-club.
  • Make a donation for the purchase of yarn.  Please make check payable to the  Franklin Woman’s Club, indicating “Purple Cap Campaign” in the subject line of your check and mail to: Franklin Woman's Club, P O Box 5793, Somerset, NJ 08875.
  • Donate newly purchased skeins of (soft-to-the-touch) yarn in any shade of purple to the Franklin Woman’s Club. Call (732) 476-8863 and leave a message requesting that your donation of yarn or hats be picked up. A FWC member will contact you to make these arrangements.

The Franklin Woman’s Club, part of the General and New Jersey State Federations of Women's Clubs, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian service organization committed to improving the community through volunteerism.

The General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) is an international women's organization with over 80,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state, the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen countries. GFWC members work in their own communities to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advance education, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage civic involvement and work toward world peace and understanding.

In addition to community initiatives, the Franklin Woman’s Club also features frequent social and educational events for enrichment.

Meetings are held at Franklin High School, 500 Elizabeth Avenue, Somerset, on the 2nd Tuesday of the Month (7pm) between September and May with special meetings held at alternate locations.  Women interested in checking a meeting location, learning more about the club and/or becoming a member may visit www.franklinwomansclub.webs.com or can email inquiries to: franklinwomansclub@gmail.com. To follow the club’s activities on Facebook, visit:  http://www.facebook.com/franklinwomansclub.

For more information about Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey (PCA-NJ), visit: www.preventchildabusenj.org