A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate at our granddaughter, Belen’s, school. Wendi, the school counselor was helping to plan a sewing project where the children would help to make pillowcases for the Ryan’s Case for Smiles organization (formerly ConKerr Cancer) and to celebrate the delivery of the one millioneth pillow case. This is an amazing organization that began when Cindy Kerr began making pillowcases for her 12-year-old son, Ryan, to brighten up his hospital room and put a smile on his face during his cancer treatments. Currently, they have over a hundred chapters and thousands of volunteers who provide nearly 50,000 hospitalized children with pillowcases every year. Yesterday was National PJ Party and Pillowcase Delivery Day to hospitalized children across the country.
Some of the finished pillowcases proudly displayed
Students wore their PJ’s and sewed pillowcases on Wednesday. I agreed to help and recruited Becky Roberts, a colleague from Quilt Crossing, to help sew the pillow cases. [For many years, Quilt Crossing has served as a hub where folks can donate their left over or stash fabrics to a Fabric Bank, where, in turn, charitable organizations can pick up the donated fabric for projects (like Ryan’s Case for Smiles).]
Our jobs were made much easier, thanks to the Girl Scouts of the Silver Sage Council Troops 444 and 826 who raised more than $200 and helped to collect materials to sew the cases to benefit Ryan’s Case for Smiles.
Becky and I checking out our “Station 1”
Step 1 – Pick out your fabric
Becky and I were part of “Station 1” where we sewed the initial seams for each pillowcase.
The first step for the children was to pick up a pillowcase kit that was already rolled and pinned at the “Step 1” table. There were such a great variety to choose from and the Girl Scouts had rolled and pinned each pillow case so it was ready to sew.
Preparing our machine for the onslaught of students with their pillowcases.
There were 2 other ladies at Station 1 and we readied are machines so that we could establish a sewing production line. As children were released for noon break, they picked up their pillowcase kits and headed our way for Step 1 of the pillow-making process.
Explaining how we were going to sew the seam to Belen and her classmate
Students were paired up and together would bring his/her pillowcase to us to sew the first seam. We would take a few seconds to explain what we were going to do and then invite the students to take turns stepping on the foot pedal of the sewing machine, so they could be a part of sewing process.
Sewing with Belen was a lot of fun
One of the bonuses for me was to get to sew with my granddaughter, Belen. She and her classmate did a great job of helping me to sew their pillowcase as you can see in the picture.
Look closely to see her foot on the foot pedal
Many of the children really got in the sewing process. A number of them asked if they could sit down and sew the seams, which we were not able to allow as there were just too many children to teach each of them to sew at this event.
Becky astonishing a student with her talents!
I was able to capture one little girl who was in awe when Becky helped to sew her pillow case.
Keakua was very interested to watch as his pillowcase was being constructed.
It was fun to see some of the children I have met in Belen’s class. Keakua was very interested as his pillowcase was being constructed.
Turn, Iron and Pin Station
From Station 1, the next step was to go to Station 2 to “Turn, Iron and Pin the pillow cases. In no time at all there were long lines forming at this station.
Children turning their pillow cases inside out
The children got very excited at this point because they could really see that their pillow cases coming together.
Workers at the final Station 3
The final Station 3 was where the last two seams of the pillow cases were sewn. This completed the construction for each pillow case. Once we finished all the Station 1 pillow cases, we also converted to another Station 3 to help finish up all the cases.
Completed pillow cases, Take 1
When the cases were finished, they were hung on long clotheslines in front of the school. It really was a site to see!
Completed Pillow Cases, Take 2
I loved how colorful the cases were and there were color schemes and themes for both boys and girls. They are definitely going to light up some children’s hospital rooms!
I felt honored to be a part of this worthwhile and fun event for Ryan’s Case for Smiles. If you would like to learn more about this amazing organization, visit the website for Ryan’s Case for Smiles. They have information on how you too can get involved to help make the world a little bit brighter!
Some of the children posing after school with the completed pillow cases
A couple folks sent me links to the KTVB news article that aired on Tuesday’s 6:00 news. You can view it at their website at KTVB.com.
P.S. – There were a lot of folks involved in putting together this incredible project. I have pictures of only a few as we were busy sewing most of the time. Thanks to all of you who contributed to make this such a fun and successful project, including the Girl Scouts and their leaders for all the prep work.
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