Hearing that dozens of New York City babies were born after the tragic deaths of their fathers in the Sept. 11 attacks, an Indian Hills woman began a campaign to knit afghan comforters for the infants.
Donna Peak has collected 91 afghans from 75 Nevada women. Most are from Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville, and the afghans have come from as far away as Topaz Lake, Fallon and Gabbs.
Peak is having a problem, though.
She and her husband, Von, can find no reliable way to get their afghans to the mothers of the children for whom the blankets were crafted.
Heaven knows they've tried.
The Peaks, of Indian Hills, have attempted since January to find a way to send baby blankets to mothers in New York City. Donna Peak, 68, decided to make afghans for the fatherless infants after viewing a Dec. 20 issue of ABC's news show, Primetime, on 16 women and their 17 babies born to women who lost their husbands in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
At the time, she thought she would find perhaps five other local women to help her knit 17 blankets. But the response to a January article in the Nevada Appeal was far more than the Peaks expected.
Not only have 75 women contributed 91 baby afghans -- with a few more in the works -- they have also fashioned four mother-sized afghans and several booties and mittens for the cause.
"I couldn't get over it. The first day, I had 35 calls; it was just overwhelming," Donna said.
Jackie Welch, 60, of Carson City, decided to knit six afghans "to do something for our country." Like many knitters, Welch couldn't think of anything to do in the wake of the national tragedy, especially considering she lives thousands of miles from New York City.
"It wasn't much, but a little bit always helps," she said.
Millie Tlachac, 69, is working on three afghans now. She has one in the family room to keep her hands busy while watching television, one by the telephone to work on while chatting and one in the car, because she never knows when she'll have a few minutes to add a row.
She's run out of grandchildren, nieces and nephews for whom she can knit blankets. When Tlachac read about Peak's efforts, she found a cause for five afghans she had ready to go.
"I thought it was something you could do just to do something, a way to help when you're so far away," added Barbara Spears, 48, of Carson City, who crocheted an afghan.
All the afghans -- pink and blue, green and white, scalloped edges and straight edges, some knitted, some crocheted -- were delivered to the First Presbyterian Church where they remain stored, waiting for a trip to New York. The Peaks are even willing to fly the blankets to New York City if there were a way to make sure the afghans could get to the babies.
The Peaks are hosting a potluck Saturday at the Presbyterian church for as many of the knitters as can come. There, Donna said, she will ask those who donated their yarn, needles and time what they'd like to see done with the afghans.
For his part, Von has been furiously e-mailing and calling national media outlets, to no avail.
He has called and e-mailed both Primetime and Good Morning America, tried working with a Presbyterian minister in New York and has attempted to make a link through the Salvation Army. None have panned out.
People magazine, which in February featured over 30 of the mothers, offered to collect the blankets, but the Peaks fear the afghans will end up in a warehouse.
"It seems like every time something is going to happen, we hit a wall," Donna said. "I told the ladies we were making (the afghans) for those babies. I sort of feel like a failure right now."
The women who knitted and crocheted the afghans don't see her as a failure, though.
"I'm sure we have a lot of needy children in our area," Welch said. "There are other causes, other people. There's always a need for s something like this."
"If there's extra, give them to somebody who needs them," Tlachac said.
For information on the Sept. 11 afghan project, call Von or Donna Peak at 267-3853 or 781-3852.