HORIZON WEST When you think of a sewing circle, what age group comes to mind?
Seniors; maybe middle-age women?
Try the National Junior Honor Society at Bridgewater Middle School, which made pillows and blankets for the pediatric unit at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
“We reached out to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital and asked them what they would need from us, and then they told us that a lot of their patients needed fleece blankets,” teacher Shalanda Cooper said. “Some of the girls are actually in Girl Scouts, so they were familiar with making the fleece blankets. It was just basically getting the boys involved, and so they actually worked in pairs to complete the blankets.”
A shopping trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft produced fleece in Carolina blue, yellow, black and gray — the school’s colors, she said. The PTSO provided extra T-shirts to use for pillows, too, so the recipients would know who made the items, she said.
“The kids decided that — because it was so close to Valentine’s Day — that they wanted to do Valentine cards for them,” Cooper said. “We were told many times the kids are there and without relatives and quite close to the Ronald McDonald House, but they’re not receiving anything, so we just wanted to make sure that we were able to shine a little bit of love in their hearts.”
In past years, the school community had provided the hospital non-perishable food items, but Cooper wanted to make something more personal. When she heard blankets were needed, she figured pillows would be a great complement and add to the touch of one child giving to another.
“It’s important that you learn what other kids are going through, and that could very well be you or anybody,” student Donald Basile said. “It’s important to be prepared and to be thankful for what you have and just try to help the people who aren’t as fortunate as you.”
Students spent 90 minutes after school Jan. 27 sewing the objects, and the delivery was on Feb. 6, Cooper said.
“They actually threaded needles and sewed the shirts themselves, and most of the students had no sewing experience, but they were so willing to do it and try it,” she said. “We’re actually reaching out to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to make some for those residents, as well.”
The children were eager to learn sewing, a skill not as often learned nowadays that Cooper likened to learning a foreign language. She said they had caught on fast and then wanted to do more once they had finished their quota, and Donald agreed it was easy to get the hang of once he was able to start.
“I thought it’d be fun to learn how to sew,” Donald said. “I’d never actually sewed before, and I enjoy doing community service. I think it was a nice little thing to do for everybody at the hospital.”
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].