JENNIE: Catherine Vandegrift saves babies one necklace at a time

JENNIE Season 2, Episode 16

Catherine Vandegrift and Jennie Montgomery in WJBF's Studio A.

AIKEN, S.C.–

Since it started in 2009,  “Formula for Life” has saved the lives of at least 500 babies in Mwandi… and raised more than $250,000.

The amazing Catherine Vandegrift is here in the studio today.  Now 94, she and her late husband spent time as missionaries to the Congo and Kenya. The retired foreign language teacher lives in Aiken, close to her daughter… but missions have always been close to her heart.

8 years ago, she created a “necklace” ministry that supports babies in Zambia. They’re sold locally and on the web.

“This church in Aiken has been involved in a place called Mwandi for a number of years. They helped build a hospital there.”

A small group went back to Zambia and discovered a critical need: formula for babies born to mothers with H-I-V.

“The babies are negative and the mothers are positive. That means they can’t nurse, so they have to have formula.”

Formula is very expensive, about a dollar a day per baby. Thanks to a relative, Catherine found a way to generate money for that much-needed formula.

“She told me about these necklaces and we began with them and they just sell themselves.”

So, she recruited 12 other women -and one man, bless his heart- to make the necklaces. the group crochets colorful creations that sell for $5.00 – $7.00.

The FFL necklace project provides urgently needed funding to help in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Mwandi, Zambia. (HIV negative babies born to HIV positive mothers.)

Once again, this is the “Formula for Life” necklace ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Aiken. Necklaces are $5 – $7… and you can order online. to date, the ministry has raised more than $250,000 and saved more than 500 little lives.

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