CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a needle and thread, Jessica Orr is working on a labor of love. 

The 8th grader at Mount Mourne Middle School has been making her passion project grow with every stitch.

"I love making these little hats," Orr said. 

She's taken her love for knitting and for helping others and turned it into a reminder of the importance of heart health from birth.

During the month of February, the American Heart Association's "Little Hats, Big Hearts" program gives newborns a handmade hat.

The tiny beanies on thousands of babies raise awareness of congenital heart defects and what we can all do to help prevent them. 

One of the best parts, they are all made from people in the community.

"It makes me very happy to know that a baby is getting a nice warm hat made from someone that cares," Orr added. 

This year she's made 20, but she's also encouraged other students and teachers in her school district, plus a local church group to participate. Now she's sending more than 300 hats to the American Heart Association.

"After making the hats, we ship them off," mom Bethany Orr said. "We have a center here in Raleigh, and they will wash and package the hats. Then send them to local hospitals."

The program tries to keep the knits where they're made. So Lake Norman Regional Medical Center may receive the hats made by Jessica.

Anyone can help make a difference one heart at a time. Details on how to send a hat to the program are available here