SCRANTON — A group of volunteers with sewing skills from across Northeastern Pennsylvania, including several from the Abingtons, combine fabric and friendship to make life better for people in need on a weekly basis.
Most recently, the “Happy Quilters” made 65 exam gowns and 100 tote bags for battered and abused children at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Scranton.
Kathy Platt, of Clarks Summit, has been with the group for five years and passed her passion for volunteer work on to her son.
“I started doing the service projects because it was a good way to learn (sewing) and give back to the community,” Platt said. “I also incorporated my son, Calvin, 10, into the group and he helped make bags for abused children.”
The group, which meets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Friday at the White Sewing Center in Scranton, are looking for additional volunteers and donations of money, gift cards, material, or machinery.
“This is an amazing group, they’ve been so unbelievable with asking if we ever need anything,” Cheryl Friedman, nurse practitioner at the Children’s Advocacy Center said. “It’s really helpful. We have a never ending need because there are always going to be kids we’re going to see and they’re always coming up with a new idea.
“I mentioned we don’t have enough boys clothes and (group member) Mary (Lees) said they can make some drawstring shorts.”
Florence Morton, of Clarks Summit, a volunteer with the Happy Quilters for more than 10 years, enjoys the camaraderie.
“It’s a way of enjoying yourself while doing something worthwhile,” she said.
The group received a $100 donation from Trinity Congregational Church in Scranton to help defray the costs of the latest project.
According to Friedman, the donations are much needed and appreciated by the patients.
“This is above and beyond what we would have expected,” Friedman said. “The group was bringing up quilts and they asked if we needed anything else. We put the kids in gowns when we’re doing their medical exams so we can see their skin. We only had two choices: an adult size that looks like a hospital gown and paper gowns for the younger children. We try to put a spin on them and say they are princess gowns, but they’re awful and make noise.
“The group made gowns of all different sizes and the kids can take them home. They are going to feel so great in these colorful gowns. They’re gorgeous and each one is different. When they called and said they had 65, I was blown away.”
Friedman is hopeful the tote bags, which will include a surprise toy, will also help boost the morale of the children.
“This will be something so unexpected and they are going to be thrilled because it’s a traumatic time for them,” she said. “There is a lot of stress and we make them feel comfortable and happy. When you say they can take something home, they feel really great are usually end up giving us a hug.”
The group previously donated bibs and blankets to Saint Joseph’s Center in Scranton and made dresses and shorts for underprivileged children in Haiti.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.