January 16th, 2021

U of L Drama dept. making scrubs for health-care workers

By Yoos, Cam on May 20, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


By using a fabric donation received 11 years ago, along with the enthusiasm and motivation of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Drama staff, nurses at Good Samaritan Park Meadows Village supportive living facility are receiving new scrubs and scrub bags in a time of need.

Inspired by a film company in Calgary, U of L theatre technical director James McDowell asked costume shop head Teresa Heyburn what she thought of sewing scrubs for front-line workers. With encouragement from the department, they reached out to see if there was a need in Lethbridge, connecting with Leslie Jastrau, recreation and volunteer co-ordinator at Good Samaritan.

“Any kind of thank you is important,” says Jastrau. “When we can help others, it just becomes a circle. At this time, we’re seeing a lot of acts of kindness and this one was a very special one. Receiving a little perk during a difficult time shows that others are thinking about us.”

As part of the health policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19, nurses remove their scrubs on site, place them in a bag and wash immediately, increasing the wear and tear on these items. Providing new scrubs at no cost is one way of thanking them for their commitment to their job.

“I’m so impressed that the university and the drama department got behind this idea because it takes resources,” says Heyburn. “When I told them that Good Samaritan has 150 employees, I asked how much time we could spend on this, and James just said, ‘do it!’ He didn’t hesitate or ask to crunch the numbers; he was so supportive of our department reaching out to that community and doing whatever we could to help.”

While supporting front-line nurses during a pandemic was the original goal, Heyburn is thrilled to have made a long-term connection with Jastrau, learning about the many needs for handmade items in assisted-living facilities, such as wheelchair bags that don’t get caught in the wheels, recliner chair covers, water bottle bags, catheter bags, aprons and more.

Heyburn reached out to costume construction instructor Julia Wasilewski who enthusiastically agreed to incorporate these projects into class assignments. Jastrau says the supportive living or long-term care facilities in the community have varying needs and encourages anyone wanting to lend a hand to reach out and ask how you can help.

“While we’re very grateful at Good Samaritan Park Meadows Village, we aren’t the only facility in Lethbridge,” says Jastrau. “Approach any nursing centre, because at any of them there will be underprivileged residents. Whether it’s sewing, a small cash donation to pay for a lunch or an outing for the residents, it all helps improve the lives of the residents and staff. If we can help others and they can help us, then together we make a better community.”

The fabric used to make the scrubs was donated to the U of L 11 years ago from Susan Perley, owner of a fabric store that had closed down in Vulcan.

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Citi Zen

Remember that all of these garments need to have a label stating country of manufacture, content, etc required by Canadian law. Even homemade masks are legally required to have this label. I know this sounds absurd, but this is CANADA!