Three weeks was all that it took for the Plamondon Quilters Club and several other crafty helpers to sew 100 scrub bags for healthcare workers at Lac La Biche's W. J Cadzow Hospital.
The Quilters, along with Lac La Biche's Crafty Sew n Sews, and individual crafters Joanne Wicker and Simone Skoglun helped to create enough bags that health centres in Boyle and Athabasca have received them as well.
The fabric bags, which can be used to carry hospital uniforms and changes of clothes for hospital workers, can be washed with soiled clothes inside, reducing chances of contamination, and the use of disposable plastic bags. The unique idea has been taken up by several sewing groups around the province for hospital workers, and the region’s web of weavers wanted to do the same for local frontline staff.
It’s not the first time that local sewing groups have connected to help people in need.
Before the pandemic, the Plamondon Quilters Club made 50 joey pouches to donate to animal rescues in Australia during last year’s devastating bushfires burned 27.2 million acres of land. The joey pouches would be used for baby kangaroos that have been orphaned or abandoned by their mothers as fires destroyed their natural habitat.
Although the 50 locally-made joey pouches were not needed by Australian authorities, as their rescue centres were bombarded with donations from around the world, the pouches were repurposed locally and recently donated to the Lac La Biche Regional Humane society. The pouches will be used to keep puppies and kittens warm.
Providing to healthcare workers and local organizations in need is something the area’s sewing groups are proud to do.
“We are always open to taking on new projects, especially if we can lend a hand wherever possible,” says Rachelle Lemay, the Founder and President of the Plamondon Quilters Club. “The ladies that I work with for the most part are seniors, so they felt like it was really important to be contributing to the healthcare workers that are doing so much for us.”
As of Monday's press deadline, there were no reported COVID cases in the Lac La Biche region, but Lemay says the stresses on frontline workers are still there, and any help the sewing groups can offer might take some of that stress down.
“We want our healthcare workers to feel supported during such a stressful time, so we are happy to have the opportunity to make the scrub bags for them,” says Lemay.
The Plamondon Quilters and their close-knit sewing community are also donating fabric to area residents creating facemasks as well as sending knitted items to organizations like the region's women's shelters.