The Life Plan team at Charlemont Free Methodist Church, in Wallaceburg, ON, had decided during their dream sessions to match their gifts and passions to outreach opportunities in their community. The team’s chair, Karen Kennedy, was able to put this idea into action over the last few weeks.
Karen is a quilter, and when COVID-19 hit she started making masks for family, friends, and everyone at her church. On March 29th Karen’s son’s girlfriend, who is an Intensive Care Unit nurse at University Hospital in London, ON, sent a photo of a cap with buttons on the sides and asked if Karen could make her one because the elastics from the mask she now had to wear for her twelve hour shift was hurting her ears. “That afternoon I sat down at my sewing machine and made two different styles. I dropped the caps off and the next day she took them into work and everyone loved them. That’s how this whole adventure started!”
Karen realized that anyone who had to wear a mask for an extended period of time were likely getting sore ears too, so she reached out to the group of women she sews with at Stitchers of Hope, a non-denominational missional sewing group who sew pajamas for women’s shelter in Chatham, ON, burp cloths, bibs, change pads, blankets for Mother’s Cupboard in Wallaceburg, clothing for Active Christians with a Mission, and reusable grocery bags for Knox Presbyterian Church’s soup cellar. “Everyone jumped on board as well as some of my friends. Some of the women sewed for a couple of hours a day, and others sewed all day, everyday.”
Word about the caps spread quickly, and soon Karen was receiving calls asking for both caps and masks. “We made caps and/or masks for the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, our local Emergency Medical Services department, Bluewater Health, Leamington Hospital, Newbury Hospital, Community Living, and several local retirement residences and nursing homes. We made and gave away 1323 caps, 181 masks, and 30 mask tabs.”
Karen’s daughter works at Howard Mutual Insurance Company in Ridgetown, ON and when they learned what Karen and her team were doing, they gave a donation to help replenish the group’s fabric stash and supplies. Now that the caps and masks have all been delivered, Karen is still sewing but she has turned her attention back to quilting and making the occasional mask for someone who asks. This was an opportunity that definitely matched her passion and skill to a need in the community.
By Alison McKinnon