Stockings for soldiers Students in stitches
A stitch of kindness can go a long way. Students in the Detroit Lakes area are not only learning an age-old craft, they are also learning the benefit of giving back to the community -- one stitch at a time. Becky Mallow said she thought that with...
A stitch of kindness can go a long way.
Students in the Detroit Lakes area are not only learning an age-old craft, they are also learning the benefit of giving back to the community -- one stitch at a time.
Becky Mallow said she thought that with a shortage of 350 Christmas stockings for troops in this area, getting a group of kids together to sew them would "probably take a big dent out of that 350."
It all started this summer when an Iowa woman who summers in the Hawley area came to the Lakes Area Quilters group and told about how her son was a part of the military and once they are overseas, they are issued sheets, blanket and pillow but no pillowcase. So, she started making pillowcases and a Christmas stocking. Her son loved it.
In fact, he asked for more stockings for the other troops. It eventually became a nationwide effort, but there is a shortage of 5,000 stockings for troops at the moment. More information can be found at www.operationsupportfordeployedmilitary.org/index.php .
Locally though, there is a shortage of 350 stockings, the number that Mallow is aiming to make.
"They are made here, we put a short letter thanking them for their service in," she said.
The stockings are then sent to family members who can fill the stockings with anything their soldier would like, and then the stockings are shipped to the troops.
"People we don't even know are getting involved," Mallow said of one woman dropping pillowcases and stockings off at a quilt show and asking her to get them to the proper people.
So to put that dent in the 350 needed in this area, Mallow decided to invite all youth to learn to make the stockings. She also specifically targeted Girl Scouts. First though, they needed sewing machines and material.
"We asked local businesses to donate (money) to get a sewing lab here at Lincoln (Education Center)," Kitti Kivi-Lex said.
The Lincoln Education Center now has seven sewing machines, and Mallow and other sewing instructors can teach classes to kids and adults.
Right now, kids in grades third through sixth are participating in Operation: Making a Difference. They are learning more than just how to sew a stitch.
"It's to educate, but also to give back," Kivi-Lex said. The kids learn to sew stockings, blankets, and other things for themselves, but they also make something to give someone else. "They learn the importance of giving back."
"Let's use them and help give back," she said of when the sewing machines were purchased.
Last week, Mallow said half of the Girl Scout troop made 15 stockings, and next week the other half of the troop will sew some. And next Tuesday, Oct. 25, kids are encouraged to come out and learn to make stockings and give back to the community. It is from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Lincoln Education Center. Pre-register at 847-4418.
The Girl Scouts helped produce the batch of stockings as part of their service badge, and the 4-H group expressed interest as well, Kivi-Lex said.
The new sewing lab is providing sewing instruction both for adults with the summer sewing camp, and for kids with classes such as the stockings for soldiers. There will be other afterschool sewing classes in the future as well.
The material and the batting for the stockings were also donated.
"A family in town donated money and we had the opportunity to buy a bunch of material -- not just Christmas material but for other projects as well," Kivi-Lex said.
Mallow said it's not about the material being Christmas or not, it's about the stocking and the love that goes into it. She's seen Minnesota Vikings and stars and stripes stockings produced as well.
"We're not turning any away," she said. "It's so every soldier can get a stocking filled with (gifts) from their families," she said.
On Oct. 29, Mallow will also be teaching an hour-long class to anyone interested in learning how to make the stockings. She will demonstrate how it's done and then people are asked to make them at home and bring them back to be shipped out by the beginning of November.
"It's a quick, fast, easy project. I think I have it down to I can make one every 15 minutes."