October 26th, 2020

Local groups sewing for frontline workers


By Jensen, Randy on April 18, 2020.

Cora Walkey and her mom Diane Herrick have been busy helping to organize the Stitch It Forward Society's initiative to provide scrub bags and headbands for frontline health-care workers. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

The Stitch It Forward Society of Lethbridge is just one of many local groups working together to help build protective equipment for frontline workers such as nurses and doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the last few weeks, dozens of volunteers with Stitch It Forward have been working away in their homes to construct scrub bags, and headbands for masks to help give frontline workers more protection with reusable equipment. Although masks were the top request, organizers say they have moved away as handmade masks are shown to not be as protective in places such as hospitals.

“The requests started coming in, people kept asking us to make a bunch of different items. Masks were the most requested items but we decided not to make them because they are not fully protective, so we decided to make accessories to go with them instead,” says Diane Herrick, founder of Stitch It Forward Society of Lethbridge. “We started about three weeks ago and we have made about 525 scrub bags, and the headbands we are over the 200 mark now.”

Since the beginning of their mission to construct enough equipment for local nurses and frontline workers, the group of sewing, knitting and crocheting volunteers have made hundreds of items.

“Nurses keep calling us and they are looking for more and we are trying our best to keep it going, but they just love them,” says Herrick. “What we are doing is a nurse or whoever goes to my daughter’s house and there is a Rubbermaid container on her front step and people can come and take what they need. We have handed out approximately 300 of the bags and we can’t keep the ear protectors in stock, they go out as fast as we can put in.”

As Stitch It Forward continues to work, they are in need or more materials to help them produce more projects, as well as cash donations to keep operations moving.

“We are in desperate need of cotton fabric. Polyester cotton blends are good, fleece and especially buttons that are one inch or bigger, as well as some elastic,” says Herrick. “We are also looking for cash donations. We are running right now at zero budget but we need to be able to buy some materials. If anybody is willing to help us that would be great, we don’t have charitable status right now so we can’t write a tax receipt, so it would just have to be a donation.”

Herrick says before the COVID-19 pandemic really spread, around 40 volunteers were working away on various projects, and since then they have welcomed over 20 more members who are wanting to contribute to their cause.

“Before all of this hit, we had 47 volunteers and we have gained about 20 more members since. Not all are making items for COVID-19, but a lot of them are,” says Herrick. “I want to put a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who are working so hard from their homes. We know that it is helping them because they aren’t so isolated and feel like they are part of a team as they work with the other volunteers to help meet the needs of the community right now.”

The Stitch It Forward Society of Lethbridge would like to encourage all frontline workers to use their handmade items to help them as they continue to serve the community. If you would like to get involved and contribute to the cause, or to donate money to help operations continue, visit stitchitforwarded.wixsite.com, or visit their Facebook page.

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