LaBelle - Gerri Norton quietly works crocheting baby blankets, likely by the hundreds, in her home. With the help of Mary Bartoshuk, the blankets are then donated to the Hendry County Healthy Start program. She has even won awards for her selflessness and generosity.
Healthy Start is a program that offers assistance to pregnant women and infants in Florida to ensure that they have access to early care, In order to prevent or minimize problems. The program provides childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting support and education, as well as psychosocial, nutritional, and smoking cessation counseling. They also do home visits for support.
The dangers of COVID-19 have forced her to be more isolated than usual, and Gerri had become a bit lonely. She keeps herself busy- refurbishing various knickknacks, crafting, gardening, and of course, finishing the baby blankets.
Mary Bartoshuk knew that Gerri’s 83rd Birthday was coming up, so she reached out to the community, asking for anyone who could, to send a card. On June 7, a very happily surprised Gerri who, with the help of Hope Connections, received two birthday cakes, several cute gifts, balloons, and many many cards. She even had some of the members local caroling group, The Jingle Belles, serenade her with a beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Gerri was so pleased by the outpouring from everyone, she was smiling from ear to ear. She kept saying, “I just can’t believe I got so many cards and presents! Look how wonderful this is!”
After all of the cake, excitement, and singing, Gerri sat down ready to begin crocheting more baby blankets. She plans to make a scrapbook for all the cards she received.