Dear Sun Spots: Catholic Charities Maine, located at 270 Minot Ave. in Auburn, has a program called SEARCH (Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope), where wonderful volunteers are assigned to elderly people who enjoy their reassurance calls, companionship or help with errands.

SEARCH also benefits from the work of about 16 volunteers who knit and crochet hats, scarves, mittens, baby clothing, afghans and lap robes and other warm items, which in turn are given to the needy of all ages in Androscoggin County.

We are greatly in need of four-ply yarn of all colors and in good condition to continue making these knitted items. The yarn is donated to SEARCH and given to the knitters as needed.

For more information about donating yarn or becoming a volunteer for our program, please call us at 784-0157. Help make a difference in your community by joining us as a volunteer. Your time as a volunteer will help an elderly person remain independent and stay connected to their community! With our deepest gratitude. – Wendy Russell, Program Director.

Dear Sun Spots: In response to your answer to a question in the Saturday, May 2, edition, as a crafter who makes, among other things, sweatshirts for children, I have followed closely the legislation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

On Feb. 10, they published a paper answering some of the common questions they were receiving from manufacturers like myself. Table B in this publication reads, in part:

“These materials or components can be used (separately or in combination) and sold (provided they have not been treated or altered or undergone any processing that could result in the addition of lead): Wood; natural materials including coral, amber, feathers, fur, and untreated leather; yarn, dyed or undyed; dyed or undyed textiles (cotton, wool, hemp, nylon, etc.) including children’s fabric products, such as baby blankets, and non-metallic thread and trim. This does not include products that have rhinestones or other ornaments that may contain lead or that have fasteners with possible lead content (such as buttons, metal snaps, metal zippers or grommets).

“Question 13: I donate the children’s products that I make to local charities and hospitals. Can I continue to send them my handmade donations?

“Answer: Yes, you can make and donate children’s products to local charities and hospitals, if they are made of exempted materials or materials that you feel confident do not contain lead. Children’s products made of yarn, dyed or undyed fabrics and natural materials such as untreated wood or cotton do not contain lead at levels sufficient to exceed the new lead limits.”

You were correct in your information regarding e-mail alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission; however, I found no satisfaction in dealing with Rep. Mike Michaud’s office. Sen. Olympia Snowe is the one to contact. She has been very active in ensuring that the act exempted those products that obviously do not qualify as a threat to a child’s environment. – Elizabeth Snowman, Auburn.

Contact Sen. Snowe through her Web site,, call 1-800-432-1599 or send correspondence to one of her offices in Maine. The Auburn State Office address is: Two Great Falls Plaza, Suite 7B, Auburn, ME 04210.

Dear Sun Spots: Page six of USA Weekend said to use “salt water for diaper rash.” There are no specific direction and there ought to be. As soon as possible, please get this corrected. Thank you so much. – Janet, Jay.

The article included in the USA Weekend from Sunday, May 5, featured an item that included tips from Michael DeJong’s newest book “Clean Body: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself,” and mentioned the use of salt water to treat diaper rash on infants and newborns.

Sun Spots corresponded with DeJong, who noted that “for millennium parents have allowed their babies to run and play in the buff at the salt-infused ocean’s edge to specifically treat the rashes and irritations that occur when a child’s skin is covered up with a wet and dirty diaper.”

He said a tablespoon or two of table salt diluted in a baby’s tepid bath water will often aid in the suffering from diaper rash.

Besides saving the expense of purchasing diaper rash creams and treatments, DeJong points out that salt water won’t pollute when the tub water goes down the drain, or when the diapers are washed (if using cloth diapers) and it won’t leave a harmful residue in the sink or tub to which other children in the household can become exposed.

DeJong also offered the following methods of treating diaper rash:

Use a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to eliminate the bacteria and fungus that cause diaper rash. Wipe it on, wait for a few minutes and then rinse with a clean damp cloth. Allow to air dry.

Treat diaper rash by placing two tablespoons of baking soda into your baby’s bath water. Mix it in until it’s completely dissolved. For best results, soak your baby’s bottom in this solution for at least 10 minutes every day.

Never use dryer sheets when you’re laundering your baby’s clothing or diapers. Instead, place a few drops of lemon juice on a washcloth and drop it into the clothes dryer to make your baby’s clothes smell fresh and clean.

Of course, DeJong said, you should always use your best judgment and follow your best motherly intuitions when treating and caring for your baby.

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