Hospice patients ‘covered’

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

TRAP – Even the most sophisticated assembly plant line doesn’t hold a candle to the Mars Hill Baptist Church Sewing Circle.

From January through March, one can stop by the church’s fellowship hall and watch a group of women hard at work as community volunteers. Their main focus over that three-month stretch is making gowns which will later be donated to University Hospice of Ahoskie.

In what started in 1993 with a goal of making 25 gowns, Sewing Circle members, with their unique “assembly line” style, now produce well over 300 in less than 90 days.

“When we made 25 that first year, we thought that was great,” club member Emily Hall said. “When we finished by the end of March this year we will have completed close to 350 gowns.”

The club is the brainchild of Clara Davidson and Peggy Jones. They were joined that first year by Carrie Anderson, Neita Brown and Sue Davidson.

“We had several people in our community with cancer and the gowns they were wearing were ragged,” Clara Davidson recalled. “We knew we could help make their lives a little bit better with some nice gowns. That’s how we got started on this project.”

Now 10-to-12 members strong, the Sewing Circle is represented by women from the local area. They are not required to be members of Mars Hill Baptist Church.

“You just need to be willing and able,” Hall said. “We bond together to help make a difference in our community and at the same time we have a lot of fun doing so. We really enjoy each others company.”

“This is a great way for us to bond together for a common goal, plus Hospice is very appreciative of what we are doing for their patients,” Clara Davidson said.

Hospice isn’t alone in their gratitude as the Sewing Circle is a 2003 winner of the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteerism.

“We’ll keep doing this as long as we’re able,” Clara Davidson noted.

As it is with any volunteer group, money is always an issue. Over 15 years, the Sewing Circle has made over 2,000 gowns at an average cost of $2.50 each.

“We have a very limited budget so we hunt for bargains on material plus the binding, the tape and the thread,” Hall said.

The Sewing Circle does accept monetary donations. Those wishing to donate can contact Clara Davidson at 356-2600 or Jones at 356-2187.

Meanwhile, the members have broadened their volunteerism by making bibs for local nursing homes as well as providing teddy bears and pillows to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital for their use to help comfort young and old patients.

Even though the 2007 “sewing season” is complete, the members are busy preparing for 2008. In addition to the aforementioned Sewing Circle members, joining in that effort are Shirley Joyner, Jean Leggett, Inez Robertson, Edna Matthews and Lynn Casper. Other assistance is provided by Lois Lassiter, Barbara Perry and Helen White.