Fallbrook woman donates 18 handmade blankets to Mom’s 1st Baby Military Outreach Ministry

FALLBROOK – Barbara Van Rij of the Fallbrook 1st Ward of the Vista California Stake Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went above and beyond the call of duty to help new mothers aboard Camp Pendleton. Van Rij just donated 18 handmade quilts and 65 knit baby caps to be included in Mom’s 1st Baby gift baskets, part of the Military Outreach Ministry program.

Fallbrook Wards of the church are each assigned one month each year to provide baby supplies for the baskets. When they arrived on Camp Pendleton to deliver the supplies, led by humanitarian specialist Mary Kay Tanner, they were met by a small group of Marines who helped carry the supplies to a storage facility.

Military Outreach Ministry director Faye Bell then explained to the women how the basket-making process takes place and how the supply donations are organized. The goal is to give young couples a gift basket of items they will need for their first newborn baby.

“Hand made quilts and blankets are a premium, because they are considered to be an heirloom,” said Bell.

Bell explained that the program is open to all branches of the armed services, nationwide and serves both active duty and wounded veteran parents-to-be.

“The program has been so successful we have been able to extend it out from Camp Pendleton to 30 other military bases in 16 different states throughout the U.S.A.,” said Bell. “One hundred and forty-one babies are born each day in a San Diego County military hospital. As a result, the Mom’s 1st Baby program is our most popular program. Of the 141 born, we figure 70 percent are firstborns.”

To learn more about the Military Outreach Ministry, visit


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