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Duffel bags for kids in foster care

In 2018, our chapter is embarking on a chapterwide community service project to support children in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Yes, each of us has our favorite charities for whom we sew and yes, the chapter will be asking you to either give some of that time or some of your extra time (like we all have any!) to a very worthwhile project - Children in foster care.

It’s terribly sad to think of children being taken from their homes oftentimes due to a situation they don’t even understand. But it is even sadder when your realize that they are asked to stuff their belongings into a black plastic garbage bag as they leave. Even when a child is being moved to another foster home, they are given the black plastic garbage bag again. It’s easy to imagine that children then begin to equate themselves with garbage... something disposable that no one wants. Yet is this is the reality for children in the foster care system today.

The Maryland Chapter of the American Sewing Guild launched a project to sew sturdy duffel bags for children in foster care throughout their state. At our Chapter’s Planning Meeting in October, the CAB and Neighborhood Leaders voted to launch a similar project for our chapter.

The logistics of this are not in place yet. Fortunately, Judy Finck, who has experience sewing duffel bags for the Epworth Children’s Home here is St. Louis, will be helping to guide the project to make it easy for everyone to participate. She will not be able to do this alone. Each Neighborhood Group will be asked to designate someone to facilitate their group’s participation. Judy and I will be developing project plan before I move away in February.

Maryland has one pattern that all sewers use, and a standard fabric type. They are sending Judy a completed bag for her to assess. Maryland holds regional workshops to teach how to make the bags so that they are all of the same quality. They purchase their fabric (#10 denim) with proceeds from an annual Stash Bash of donated fabric. Three of our members have already stepped up to say they know of potential sources for donated fabric. Maryland partners with another sewing group to make the bags, and we are looking for partners as well.

We have a list of children's services agencies in the metro area who we will contact to distribute the bags. Usually, the bags are given to a child by the social worker when they are being taken from the home. Each Neighborhood Group will be able to select an agency serving children in their local area.

Send any questions or suggestions to

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