Jerri Baker worked at the Pelican Rapids Library for over seven years. "It was like a family," she said. "You got to know people, you knew when they had new babies." She wanted to give something to those new babies. There were Baby Baskets available from the American Library Association, baskets all wrapped in plastic and tied with a ribbon, but they were very expensive; so Jerri invented Baby Bundles. In the last seven years, Jerri has given out over one hundred bundles to families with new babies.

Through the library, Jerri also met a lot of quilters. She contacted the Last Tuesday Quilters in Pelican and asked them to make baby quilts for the project. They responded enthusiastically. "Tildy Moe brought me 8 quilts one day," Jerri said, "and LaDonna. There are three or four quilters who bring me a lot."

The Write Stuff Writer’s Group and Friends of the Library also wanted to be involved in the project. They produce Calico’s Quilt, a small board book about a child who receives a quilt from a group of ladies and the ways she and her cat use the quilt. Every Bundle includes a copy of Calico’ Quilt as well as several other board books, a few toys and small articles of clothing. A small group of volunteers knit or crochet sweaters for the Bundles. Jerri can always use more sweaters. "Make them about size one," Jerri says, "sometimes I don’t hear about babies until they are older."

Friends of the Pelican Rapids Library donates money to help with expenses on the Bundles, but Jerri shops at the Dollar Store and the Pass It On Shop for real bargain. "Stuffed animals would be the most expensive things in the Bundles," Jerri explained. "But I can pick up half a dozen at the Pass It On and take them home and wash them."

Katy Baker, Jerri’s granddaughter, helps put the Bundles together, choosing the quilts and the other items for each family. Before Jerri retired from her job at the Library, she delivered some of the Bundles. "Some homes I went to, there was a lot of need." She shook her head, smiling. "And some homes they invited me in for coffee." Now, the Library and the Refugee Resource Center in town are pickup sites for Baby Bundles. People with new babies should contact Jerri at 218-849-2322 or 218-342-2618.

"One hundred thank yous to the quilters and other volunteers," Jerri said. "A lot of love, time and money goes into those quilts. The people in Pelican really appreciate them.”" A lot of thank yous to Jerri Baker too.