Women Giving Back Through Their Talents
December 8th, 2018 my husband had a heart attack resulting in a double by-pass in the Calgary Foothills Hospital. He was one of several people that week who would be with their family for another Christmas because of the cardiac team. He was given a heart shaped pillow and was instructed to use it when he coughed, sat up, or between the seatbelt in the vehicle. I asked if they had enough pillows to meet the demand and was told only a small group of ladies sew about 30 per month which last less than a week due to the high turn over of heart surgery patients. The pillow became a form of comfort and security for my husband. It was never out of his reach for the first three months. My heart ached as there were many patients that didn't receive this simple act of kindness. Once we arrived home, I started asking questions: What can I do to help? How can I get help to make this happen? Who else needs help?
The more questions I asked, the more need I found. By January 18th, I had made the decision to start a non-profit charitable organization that brings a community together to use their creative skills to meet the needs of those in crisis. I filed for incorporation and charitable status, gathered volunteers and created a Board of Directors.
Our goal now is to raise funds to rent a location where people can meet together to make items needed in the community. It will be a collection site for items being made in the community and at our facility so when there is a need, we can jump into action and provide blankets, chemo therapy hats, seat belt protectors, altered clothing for physically disabled people, heart pillows (of course) and anything else needed. We will ask for donations of fabrics, batting, yarn, thread, and other needed items from the community at large. We will up-cycle materials and old clothing preventing them from going to the landfill. We will engage volunteers who are disabled, and especially women who can share their talents by teaching others how to crochet, knit, quilt and sew.
There is no other organization that does this. We will be the portal where people can donate their items and we will ensure they are used where needed anywhere there is a disaster or need. Had an organization like this been in place during the Fort MacMurray fires or Calgary floods, we could have been the place for immediate need. Red Cross is our closest program but they do not deal with home created items. Together we win!
Who Will it Benefit?
The list of people who will benefit is endless. We will encourage those who have a need to come to us and let us create an answer. For example, when receiving chemo therapy through a port in your chest, patients can have their clothes altered to allow for easy access to the port giving the patients dignity. A homeless person will be blessed with a donation of a warm blanket. New volunteers wanting to learn how to quilt or knit can be educated how to do these things so that they can continue to provide support to the community. It will give purpose for people to leave the reclusiveness of their home to venture out into the community to volunteer. Everyone from youth to seniors will benefit from this program. We will even have a play area for moms to volunteer while their children are playing with safe toys. This is mostly a woman organization but will not discourage men from helping. It will be a place for at-risk youth to participate in activities in a safe environment after school and out of school days. Lastly, it will increase the development of the art of handmade items.