May 28th, 2024

Teen’s Christmas sewing project inspires help for homeless


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 11, 2021.

Submitted photo Madison Elford sews a stocking to be filled with a toque, gloves, socks, hand and feet warmers among other items, to spread some Christmas joy among the homeless population.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A local teen wants to share some Christmas cheer with the homeless population by sewing, filling and distributing stockings.
Fourteen-year-old Madison Elford received a sewing machine and a $30 fabric budget for Christmas last year, and it took her the whole year to figure out what to do with them. But about six weeks ago, she told her mother Tisha Elford she wanted to make stockings for the homeless.
“I love Christmas and I was thinking, who doesn’t have Christmas that I could potentially help,” said Madison.
They bought the fabric and Madison had enough to make 12 stockings. But after Tisha posted what her daughter was doing on her social media, many people volunteered and offered funds and donations, and Madison ended up with enough fabric to sew 100 stockings. As of Friday she had sewn 98.
Madison received help from both of her grandmothers and members of her church’s youth group to be able to sew the stockings, because it became too large of a project for her to sew 100 of them and her family is helping to fill them.
Tisha said that since Madison has six siblings, some of them got jealous and wanted to be part of a cool project, so she reached out to their schools which resulted in the Grade 1 class at Nicholas Sheran Elementary School colouring Christmas cards to place in the stockings, G.S. Lakie Middle School did a glove drive to collect gloves to put in the stockings, and Chinook High School chipped in a sock drive to collect socks.
Thanks to all the help from the schools, they are able to make stockings specific for males, females and children. They are placing gloves, socks, toques, hand warmers and feet warmers in all of them. And for males they are adding beef jerky, and for the children they are adding some toys.
Madison also received help from the Ridgewood Heights Neighbourhood Association which donated a cheque to help fill the stockings. Safeway West agreed to contribute oranges for each stocking, and an LDS youth group purchased toys for the children’s stockings.
She explained that they moved to their neighbourhood about four years ago and have not met many people yet, and therefore it was great to receive so much support from the community.
“It has been really neat to see how much they want to help and just do good,” said Madison.
Tisha said it has been amazing to watch the community support. She believes it has been something a lot of people have been missing during COVID.
“I know a lot of the people that have given donations have expressed that it is so great to be part of something as a group,” said Tisha.
Madison and her family have been doing a bottle drive in their community to collect funds to purchase candy canes and treats to place in the stockings.
Tisha said she is really proud of how selfless and how much Madison just wants to help others, and said that Madison pointed out to her that she knew one thing was to set a goal, but it was neat to see that she needed other people to help her achieve her goal.
“That is something most adults we don’t even learn, because we are always like, I can do it myself, I can get it done. So I am glad she is learning that lesson at a young age,” said Tisha.
They contacted the YWCA, Streets Alive and the homeless shelter to offer the stockings and will be dropping off donations on Dec. 22 and 23.
As of Friday, they still need 60 toques, so they are hoping to get some donations before their distribution date either via e-transfer for them to be able to purchase them or by contacting Tisha by email to make arrangements.
Tisha can be reached at stelford2006@gmail.com for toque or e-transfer donations.

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