Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Western Montana.

MISSOULA - The Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Western Montana is calling on anyone with spare time and spare fabric to help mothers with babies in the NICU.

The Missoula chapter of Ronald McDonald's House of Charities recently adopted a new program called Hearts of Hope from the Alberta chapter.

The program calls upon volunteers in the community to sew hearts for families that have babies in the NICU. They said studies have shown babies can recognize their mother's scent right away. One heart is given to mom while the other is given to baby, and the two switch hearts every day to bond while they aren't able to be together.

Jessica Unruh, whose twin boys were in the NICU, said this action made an incredible difference.

"It was really like one of the only things that I could do that was mothering while they were still fragile and untouchable," Unruh said.

The Missoula chapter of RMHC adopted the program because 60% of the families that stay at that chapter have babies in the NICU. Their goal is to make sure every family gets a set of hearts.

If you are interested in sewing for the Hearts of Hope campaign, they must be 8 by 8 inches and made from brand-new fabric. Flannel or cotton fabric is ideal because it picks up scents the best.

Hearts can be dropped off or mailed to RMHC of Western Montana at 3003 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula MT 59804.

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