The Thread That Makes You Smile
-By Zohra Nacer-
“Our journey is counted by the tasks we have done, not really by years”
“We need more volunteers to join us. They don’t need to be experts. We are here to help each other. And best of all, we are here to have some good time together.”
“He handed me the envelope and was stunned by the $100 bill inside of it”
They meet every Tuesday and do crafts. This is all we knew about them. We imagined tables full of supplies, colorful pieces of fabric laying around the room and people working on some projects. We did not think about all the stories behind these weekly gatherings that every thread and needle have witnessed.
When we entered the Meadowood Church and made our way down the dark hallway, we didn’t expect to find a group of people who keep bringing glimmers of hope and light to others. Loretta, Lois, Karen and Mary were there, loyal to the weekly meeting. Due to the current pandemic, they could only meet briefly before finishing their projects at home. With a touch of bitterness, Loretta informs us that the virus has taken the life of one active member. Like elsewhere, the number of volunteers has dropped and the meetings in person were becoming increasingly rare.
Beth, Betty, Beverly, Del, Mary Ann, Myriam, Ruth, and Touriya are also active members but couldn’t make it to regular meetings. The group is grateful to Meadowood Church and Pastor Michael Spottsville. “Pastor Michael has been so generous to our group and showed a lot of compassion” explains Loretta. “We have an overflowing closet with supplies beside the room offered to meet” continues Lois.
The group relies fundamentally on donations from generous people. “We receive donations, mainly fabric, but this is still not enough for the projects we are working on”, explains Karen before Lois continues: “the batting is the expensive piece and we rarely get any donated”.
It all started one day … the exact date doesn’t seem to matter or remembered … “Our journey is counted by the tasks we have done, not really by years,” Mary jokes. Unanimously, the volunteers say that Donna Garcia was at the source and saw the group form around the year 2009.
For years, the volunteers gave their best to make a person in need smile. They have worked hard responding to the different non-profit organizations requests. The “Little Flower”, nursing homes, Native American Reservations, Advanced Healthcare, Pregnancy Alternatives… are some of the organization names cited and the help has extended to many others. The eyes of the volunteers shone with joy and pride when they talked about their numerous beautiful and useful items: baby and adults quilts, hats, face masks, baby diapers, little dresses, rice bags, walker bags, crayon bags, hot pads… They have made clothes for some families of the 3rd world countries. They have even put together grooming kits to donate to the homeless. They had accomplished so many projects that was impossible to remember them all.
“There are so many defensible causes in our society, so many people in need that we try to meet the demands that are addressed to us” said Loretta with delight and some anxiety in her voice.
While most of the volunteers are ladies, some male volunteers have marked their presence. Lois talked about Roy, the donor who will never be forgotten since he gave the group a generous much needed donation. “He handed me the envelope and was stunned by the $100 bill inside of it” she said.
We didn’t have to wait long to see what they were capable of doing. The choice of colors, the details, the patterns and finishes were all there to remind us that we were with a group of professionals who put the love of work above everything.
“We need more volunteers to join us” said Loretta. “They don’t need to be experts. We are here to help each other” added Mary. “And best of all, we are here to have some good time together,” Karen reminded them.
Despite all the tears shed, the stress and the hard times they all have been through, these ladies had some fun times and built strong relationships. They have shared meals, laughter, jokes and stories. Their lives within the group are defined as a beautiful quilt with its different patterns. Their friendship is as strong as the threads and the warmth of their hearts alleviates the gloom of those in need and puts a smile on so many sad faces.
“There are so many defensible causes in our society, so many people in need that we try to meet the demands that are addressed to us”
“We receive donations, mainly fabric, but this is still not enough for the projects we are working on”
“Pastor Michael has been so generous to our group and showed a lot of compassion. We have an overflowing closet with supplies beside the room offered to meet”