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Pay It Forward: Helping Unwed Mothers

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Stitch by stitch.

Margaret Baker is making items for people she doesn't know and will never meet.
And there's a lot of people who say that should not go unnoticed.

"I have 300 dollars to give you," says Margaret's daughter Paula.

"It's called 'Pay It Forward'.  It's when somebody does something nice in the community."

Twice a month, News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union honors two people who make a difference in their community by "paying it forward".

And this Mother's Day week, Margaret Baker is making such a difference.  She does it with every stitch she makes.

"It's just wonderful that she's been doing this for so long," says Paula.

Since 1989, Margaret has spent her own money on yarn, thread, and fabric to make booties, hats, blankets, and afghans for the babies of unwed mothers throughout the Quad Cities.

"The babies don't have anything," says Margaret.  "They come with nothing."

Margaret's handmade creations go to organizations like Pregnancy Resources which operates Bella's Closet.

"A lot of our clients don't have that kind of influence in their lives, they never received a homemade anything so to have that kind of homemade love is great for them", says Pam White of Moline's Pregnancy Resources.

Unwed mothers can use points earned by attending classes to get clothing they and their child desperately need.  And that includes homemade blankets and quilts.  Call it a mother's touch for a child they'll never meet.

"They all need a blanket, they can never have too many, no matter how many I make they can never have too many," says Margaret.

Margaret knows a thing or two about what children need.  She raised 11 of her own.
And now, at age 86, with her husband Merwin looking on, she knits yet another gift that will go from one mother to another.

And a daughter is amazed by it all.

"Everybody needs a mother like my mother," says Paula.

Margaret's answer is simple when asked how long she plans to continue her knitting.

"As long as I can move my fingers."

You can nominate a person you think goes above and beyond in the community by filling out this form at