Hats off to Ashley McKendrick! And her mom, Chris!

Ashley McKendrick is a hard-working, creative, 23-year-old who loves to help others. A member of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Ashley is a missionary who worked six days a week at three food banks. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because a coworker tested positive for COVID-19 at one of the food banks, Ashley and her coworkers were furloughed for 14 days in June. The other food banks where she works wouldn’t allow her to continue with her job because of COVID-19 prevention protocols – if workers have been exposed to the virus, they are not allowed to enter the premise. With ample free-time, Ashley quickly became bored. To pass the time, she picked up a knitting loom that she tried out months earlier and perfected her knitting technique. With a loving heart and skilled hands, Ashley weaves physical and emotional comfort into her gifts for premature newborns and their parents by crafting baby caps for premature babies and donating them to Banner Children’s at Desert Medical Center in Mesa.

“She does all the work, all the designs,” said Ashley’s mother, Chris. “Premature babies lose [body] heat through their head, first. The caps help to keep the [newborns] warm.”

One of Ashley’s sisters saw what she was doing and offered to design a greeting card to include with the hats.

Already appreciative of the preemie-fitting hat donations, the hospital reviewed the card to include with the gift caps. It was then the hospital offered to pay for the printing of the cards.

The cards read:
“Hi, My name is Ashley McKendrick. I am special because I have Goldenhar Syndrome, have a big family, two silly cats, and was adopted from Taiwan. I love being a service missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope this hat keeps your baby very warm.”

When asked, “Why would a young woman who works six days a week spend her down time knitting caps for preemies?” Ashley reflected then replied, “Because people need help!”

Ashley’s knitted caps have brought much joy to parents and needed warmth to premature babies. Thank you, Ashley, for demonstrating what a life of caring and helpfulness can mean for others!