Sunday, March 7, 2004

Knitters' clothes fit for a preemie

Good Things Happening

Allen Howard
Two days a week, a group of women gathers to knit and crochet everything from quilts, afghans and blankets to caps, booties, gowns, undershirts, sleepers and more.

The items are made in sizes not found in stores - they're for premature babies.

"I didn't realize how difficult and how expensive it is to get clothes for premature babies until my grandson, Ethan Cox, was born prematurely five years ago," said Margie Cox, Ohio vice president and southwest Ohio regional coordinator of Touching Little Lives. "Our mission is to 'touch the little lives' of needy premature and newborn infants in Ohio - to do all that we can to give them the necessities that every newborn needs."

Cox said the extremely small size of many of these infants makes it difficult to find clothing. She said it often costs too much for many families.

"In 2003, Touching Little Lives volunteers donated 104,213 items through hospitals, agencies, homeless shelters, pregnancy crisis centers, health departments and other facilities that care for sick and needy newborn infants throughout Ohio. While this number sounds large, the fact remains that many, many requests go unfilled," Cox said.

Cox said there are about 30 local volunteers and about 1,000 across the state. "We always need volunteers," she said.

To help, call 625-1656, 561-7802, 722-6252 or go online at

Sweepstakes winner

When Kathy Wagner mailed in a contest form she picked up at a restaurant, she thought she was wasting a stamp.

But Wagner of Bridgetown has had a change of heart. She has been named the first-prize winner of the Texas Pete-Golden Corral 500 Full Throttle Sweepstakes.

Wagner and her husband, Mike, will be treated to a weekend of racing in Atlanta March 12-14.

"They are going to fly us down there. We get three free nights hotel accommodations. This is exciting. I never won anything in my life," Wagner said.

On March 14, they will attend the Golden Corral 500 Nextel Cup Race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. They will be VIPs at a barbecue and concert by pop group Hootie and the Blowfish March 13 and attend a Big Wheels Of Racing Breakfast.

"My husband is a bigger racing fan than I am," Wagner said.

Wagner was a winner from among more than 20,000 entries.

The national contest within Golden Corral restaurants asked customers to register to win.

Faith Matters

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP - What is it like to be an African-American in the Catholic Church?

That's one of many diversity issues St. Xavier High School has been exploring over the last 31/2 years in a lecture series. It will continue to address the topic Tuesday night in the ninth installment of that series.

"The school has been trying to reach out to a population that historically hasn't been represented at St. Xavier High School - African-Americans," said Michael Daley, a teacher at the school and coordinator of the series. "We realize that our experience of our faith is limited, but can be all the more richer with exposure to the perspective of those of other races."

Father Joseph Brown, a Jesuit and head of the Black American Studies Program at Southern Illinois University, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Rooms 158 and 160 of the school, 600 North Bend Road. His topic will be "To Sit at the Welcome Table: Black Catholics and the Future of the Church."

There are about 2.3 million black Catholics in the United States. Daley said he hopes Brown, the former director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in Louisiana and the author of two books, can share some of the black Catholic experience with the Cincinnati community.

"We hope people not just from the St. Xavier community, but the community at large will attend," Daley said. "Diversity is always present in the church, and if the church is truly to flourish, we need to incorporate the gifts and talents of all people into the church."

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