Stocking stuffers

Left to right, Jean Sipes, Aubrey Sipes and Jessie Hughes pose with examples of the Christmas stockings given the all babies born in December at ETMC—Jacksonville. The project, which began December 2005, is part of the services projects of the ETMC—Jacksonville Auxiliary. Progress photo by Hannah Buchanan

Last month, bundles of joys received their first Christmas present — a stocking made of felt just for them. The creators behind the stockings, Aubrey and Jean Sipes of Jacksonville are part of the “pink ladies and gentlemen” known as the East Texas Medical Center’s — Jacksonville Auxiliary.

The Sipes, who are incoming historians for the group, handmake the stockings from felt material.

“Aubrey and I make them. We do this to add a little more joy to the event of a new birth,” Mrs. Sipes said.

All three agree — the stockings also serve as mementos — a baby’s first Christmas stocking. The project they said also promotes ETMC.

“This was the second year to do this. We saw the idea in a district meeting, and Jean got to fiddling and got to creating them. We ask the OB (Obstetrics and Gynecology) doctors how many (babies) they’re expecting to be born,” said Jessie Hughes, auxiliary member and current president.

This year, the Sipes made approximately 40 stockings, however not all of the stockings were given away. There were approximately 35 babies delivered.

“You make more than what you need,” Mrs. Sipes said. “We started preparing back in June or July, and we began working (on the stockings) probably back in August to be ready for December. We also give the siblings toys so they won’t feel left out,” Mrs. Sipes said.

The couple said it takes approximately two-and-a-half crafting hours per stocking. And the Sipes are willing to work on future stockings, as long as they are capable, she said.

“We plan on continuing it,” Mrs. Sipes said.

“This is one of their many projects. This is their seasonal project — for Christmas. They also provide patient info, deliver mail and flowers and handle the auxiliary gift shop which is located in the ETMC—Jacksonville grand lobby,” said Karen Adams RN, Women’s Reference Center director.

Adams, who also serves as coordinator for the auxiliary, said other projects include making scrubs for the trauma patients who come through the emergency room, baby clothes for the preemies, and various fundraisers such as jewelry and bake sales. The money is used to purchase hospital equipment. Adams also said the auxiliary is appreciated “very much so” by the hospital.

“We also give five to six scholarships a year to local health career students,” Hughes said.

The auxiliary is a volunteer organization which assists and promotes the ETMC — Jacksonville. Currently, there are 32 auxiliary members, four of which are males.

“We like to promote our hospital. We love what we do,” Hughes added.

It’s open to anyone ages 21 and older, and Hughes said the group is always looking for additional volunteers.

For more information, or to become an auxiliary member, call ETMC—Jacksonville at 903-541-5000 or the gift shop at 903-541-5583.

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