Package of compassion

For Monica McFadden, Volunteer Co-ordinator, getting together with her sewing group is more than just a chance to sit and socialize. It’s an opportunity to bring people comfort.

Inspired by a group in Calgary, Monica decided to create a sewing group at Youville Home. The group consists largely of three resident volunteers who all have a long history with the craft.

Carmen Vold was an avid quilter growing up, and Helen Miller worked as a seamstress and sewed all of her own clothes growing up. Lorette Theroux worked making drapes for 20 years at a company called Murray's Draperies.

Monica McFadden sits with resident Helen Miller to discuss what fabric to use for their next pillow. All of the fabric they are using was donated by staff, volunteers and other Youville Home residents.

“Being in the group is great,” says Lorette. “It’s a good pastime, and it brings back a lot of happy memories.”

Currently, the sewing group is working on creating small pillows and cloth bags for the palliative residents at Covenant Health’s sister facility, Foyer Lacombe.

The pillows are small, about 12 by seven inches, and are meant to help provide residents with some brightness and comfort. “We tried to use all cheery colours,” says Monica. “We hope that it will bring a bit of light to the residents there.”

The cloth bags are for when a patient passes away. 

“The idea was that a lot of times, residents are coming from hospitals and they just bring their personal belongings in a plastic bag," explains Monica. "Once they have passed away, we just thought it would be nice for the family to have a cloth bag to put their belongings into instead of a black bag.”

Once the group has sewn enough pillows and bags, the ladies plan on heading over to Foyer Lacombe to deliver the gifts themselves.  

“It’s comforting to know that we are doing something good for someone else,” says Lorette. “I’m excited to bring our packages to them.”

Monica is happy to see the effect the group is having on her residents as well.

“When you listen to them talk as they’re sewing, they’re discussing their sewing days, their experiences and their accomplishments,“ she says.

The group currently meets one day a week. They hope to keep working with Foyer Lacombe in the future and plan on making things for future craft sales and the local gift shop.

Lorette Theroux shows off some of the pillows she has helped sew and stuff. The group will make 25 to 30 pillows before heading over to Foyer Lacombe for the first time.

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