Union Leader Article

  December 02, 2008

Hollis woman welcomes needy bundles of joy

The Stork Project: with the help of donated clothing, she has given nearly 650 Welcome Bundles to mom and babies.


By Nancy Bean Foster-Union leader Correspondent

Hollis —Some new moms don’t have to think twice about having clothes for their newborn babies to ware, but for others, having outfits and blankets for their little ones may not be in reach. That’s where The Stork Project comes in.

               The Stork Project is a one-woman operation that Kathi Lewis, a Hollis mom, runs out of her home. She accepts donations of new and gently worn newborn clothing and blankets and then packages them into “Welcome Bundles” to share with local charities and hospitals.

               Lewis, age 52, began The Stork Project in 2007, after finding a wide variety of newborn clothes left over from a local preschool sale.  She decided to take the clothes and find them a home.

               Lewis contacted Bridges, a Milford-based agency that provides services and support for battered and abused women.

               “What I found out was that women often came to Bridges from home or the hospital with newborns and often didn’t have much clothing with them,” Lewis said. There was a need for this, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

               The more she gave, the more clothing donations she received.

               “People are incredibly generous,” Lewis said. “I just started collecting cloths, and I got a lot of blankets, so I began tying up the bundles of clothes in a blanket with ribbon and they became Welcome Bundles.”

               She shopped the bundles around to various agencies, some which were wary of accepting used clothing, and drummed up support for The Stork Project among social workers. Thus far, Lewis has given away nearly 650 Welcome Bundles, and she has no desire to stop anytime soon.

               “For me, this is a form of worship,” Lewis said. “Every person is put on this earth for a reason, and it took me 52 years to figure out what mine was.  Through this, I am fulfilling my covenant with God.”

               Lewis said she constantly receives affirmation that she’s doing the right thing in many small ways, like a pair of pants in one bag that perfectly matches a shirt in a bag from someone else, or a person stepping up to offer help that Lewis needed but hadn’t yet asked for.

               These are the tiny details that make her believe the path she’s following is the right one.

               Lewis says The Stork Project allows her to pass a little bit of love on to women and babies who end to know they’re cared for.

               “I often get donations from people who know what it’s like to need help, “Lewis said. “When a mom opens a bundle from another mom, that karma is washed all over that new baby.”