Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three crafty ladies bring holiday cheer to Bayonet Point hospital

HUDSON

Jan Link is proud to see her artwork hanging on display. Even if it's not on a gallery wall.

"Last year, when we made Valentine's hearts to place on patients' dinner trays, a nurse told me that one of the patients hung the heart on his IV line," she said with a smile.

A trio of volunteers known around Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point as the JAM Girls — consisting of Jan Link, 82, Audrey Gerds, 88, and Maria Bellucci, 80 — bring cheer to the patients with special crafts each holiday. Lately they've been busy making 188 heart-shaped paper valentines, filling each one with a red-and-white sugar-free peppermint candy.

"It's unreal and amazing, the things they come up with," said Ann Amato, a welcome center volunteer at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. "They never let a holiday go by without creating something beautiful."

"They make (patients') stay here a little brighter," added welcome center volunteer Tom Runnions.

The ladies gather each Wednesday in the hospital cafeteria and put their nimble fingers to work, creating holiday crafts that adorn patient trays.

A cardboard toilet paper roll, covered with a napkin and filled with candy, becomes a firecracker for the Fourth of July.

A recycled greeting card with a floral design becomes an Easter basket, lined with plastic grass and filled with chocolate eggs.

They make angels and sleds for Christmas, not only for patients, but for hundreds of other hospital volunteers; and additional crafty creations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

They also make centerpieces, decorations and little favors for hospital holiday parties. One year they even made Halloween baskets for the children served by the hospital daycare center.

"It's nice to give back to the community," said Link.

"And we love making the patients' day," Bellucci added. "It makes us feel good, too."

Gerds' day was made earlier this month, when she received the hospital's Five Star Volunteer Award. Nominated for this honor by Link, Gerds was recognized for working 1,437 hours since she started in 2005.

"I was so honored," she said. "I'm very proud."

Link won this same honor last year, and also has nominated Bellucci for the award. Together these three ladies have put in nearly three decades of service at the hospital; three years ago they pooled their creative efforts to become the JAM Girls.

They work on a hospital-allotted budget of about $100 per year, supplemented with their personal craft supplies and items donated by hospital staff. They enjoy free cafeteria meals and light conversation while they work.

"We share very sweet company here," Bellucci said.

And they are constantly in demand. Link is also part of a crafting group that makes gifts for local nursing home patients. Bellucci crafts with her grandchildren, and has made them "honorary JAM Girls" to help out for a few projects. During the craft session last Wednesday, a nurse approached Gerds for help creating Mardi Gras masks for a kids' event at a local church.

"I'll be there to help," Gerds promised.

Three crafty ladies bring holiday cheer to Bayonet Point hospital 02/12/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.