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Quilters in tight-knit community offer helping hands


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.

Helping hands

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.