Long before babies feel the comfort of a new blanket in the NICU at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, another generation is preparing to cover them with love.
Once a month, as they've done for the past 10 years, a group of ladies turns Christ Our Savior Church in Loudon into a baby blanket factory.
The women are part of the Heaven Scent project. They make flannel blankets for NICU babies, but first the baby's mother wears the blanket so it picks up her scent. When the blanket is then placed under the baby, the mother and baby are bonded together.
"It creates not only the emotional wellbeing of the mother, but for the mom knowing she's still doing something for the baby," one of the Heaven Scent volunteers said.
These ladies press into their community for babies who don't even know they exist.
The group says they enjoy the camaraderie they share, and knowing that the tiny babies in the NICU will benefit from the blankets.
"It's great, it's a great fellowship for us here, too. It's all from the heart," one volunteer said.
Recently, they passed a major milestone of 10,000 blankets.
Paying it forward for a generation just a few days old, one blanket at a time.