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How to Bring Comfort and Give Honor to Donor Families

Your knitted shawls for Wrapped in Love can bring tremendous comfort and healing to donor families in New Jersey

One of the hardest things anyone who has lost a loved one will have to do is make a decision about organ and tissue donation.

These families often are already dealing with a tragic loss. Now, they must also make a difficult decision at an emotional time.

A Facebook message I received in 2016 introduced me to someone who understood this struggle.

She wrote:

My name is Jillian Padilla, and I run the Wrapped in Love program for NJ Sharing Network. I’m looking to expand the program and get more people who knit and crochet involved. The program provides handmade shawls for families who have said yes to organ and tissue donation.”

I thought this was a beautiful idea!

About the Organ Donation System, NJ Sharing Network, and Wrapped in Love 

Let’s break down each piece of the organ and tissue procurement system.

On a national level, the national recovery system procures organs and tissue. This system serves the 115,000 people on nationwide waiting lists.

Around the country, more localized foundations also offer these services as part of the nationwide system. And this is where the NJ Sharing Network comes in.

NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit federally designated organ procurement organization. It serves the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents who currently await transplantation.

The Foundation raises funds in order to support donor families. Also, it conducts research and educates the public about organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

But most importantly, NJ Sharing Network’s mission is to provide care during and after a donor family’s experience. One way they do this? Through volunteers knitting or crocheting beautiful shawls for donor families.

This is the Wrapped in Love program. Here, donor families are honored with handmade shawls. These, of course, are tangible expressions of comfort and compassion.

So in joining with this program, volunteers support and honor families whose loved one generously gave the gift of life.

How You Can Help

Jillian no longer runs Wrapped in Love, but the program continues through the capable administration of Lisa Colasurdo.

If you’d like to help, consider knitting shawls. Do you need patterns? Take a look at past Knitting for Charity articles featuring collections of free shawl knitting patterns.

To learn more about or to participate in Wrapped in Love, contact Lisa at 908-516-5687 or lcolasurdo@njsharingnetwork.org. You can also visit the Wrapped in Love page of the NJ Sharing Network website.

This is such a beautiful way to reach out to donor families with love, warmth, comfort, and gratitude!

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  1. I have a bag of white yarn 10 or so skeins of different weights. Can anyone use them. I am in Manalapan nj

    1. Hi Laurie, I would suggest contacting Lisa (her contact information is shown in the post above) and asking if she knows of any knitters who would be interested in your yarn. Thank you!

  2. I’ve. returned to. knitting during the pandemic and have several items I wish to donate (cowls, shawls); I live in Hunterdon Co., NJ. Is there somewhere I can drop them off?

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