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Giving Back is a Great Way to Start the New Year

By Jane Monzures

We Make for Good is a national movement sweeping the country and it’s hitting new heights just in time for a new year. Creative makers are sewing, stuffing, knitting, weaving and handmaking their way to help others in need. With the new year upon us, making for a good cause is a great way to give back in 2018 and a great new year’s resolution.

From Buffalo to Phoenix, people are making for good and I caught up with a few of them to learn their stories.

Tempe, AZ

Nancy Brassea makes Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and drops them off at her local Toys for Tots drop off point. Inspired by her sister, Nancy was cleaning out her sister’s craft room after her death and found unfinished doll patterns cut out and ready to be made. Nancy decided to pick up where her sister left off. Over the years Nancy has handmade and donated hundreds of dolls; without any recognition or acknowledgment Nancy makes for good to put a smile on the faces of underserved children.

Phoenix, AZ

Cathy McLees and her mother make quilts for cancer patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Cathy’s 96 year old mother, Marie Herger, lives in Wyoming and they work on the quilts together; so the quilts travel hundred of miles before they are finished and anonymously donated to the children. She says they have the skills and time to do it, so why not, because it gives them a great sense of satisfaction to give back to others.

Buffalo, NY

Cher DeJack makes cat sticks for the abandoned animals in area shelters. The cat sticks are made from fleece fabric, Polyfil stuffing and catnip. The cats love them, and Cher, a cat lover herself, has made thousands of cat sticks over the years.

Northbrook, IL

Shari Forsythe and her friends get together every year for the Northbrook Moms Pillow Fest to make heart shaped pillows. They started the fest 9 years ago around Valentine’s Day which is why they chose the heart shape. The Northbrook Mom’s donate their pillows to the Rehab Institute of Chicago (RIC) and Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Skokie, IL

Carolyn Reiner runs the Bears of Hope organization. This group of women make stuffed teddy bears to give to the elderly, the sick, veterans and numerous children’s organizations. After the Bears are complete, each one of them is labeled and numbered. Carolyn and her group of women are assigned a task as part of the making process; some cut the pattern, some sew, some stuff, some tie the yellow ribbons on the bears’ neck, and some write the labels but in all these years of making Bears no two are alike.

Chicago, IL

Costume designer Samantha Corbel runs the Comforted Kitten Cat organization. She makes cats beds in her spare time to give to the humane society. Research showed that cat beds were the most needed item at shelters so Samantha stepped up to help out. These cozy beds are a favorite for all the felines, and as a cat lover herself, Samantha can’t think of a better way to comfort the animals that have given her so much love.

The unifying thread among these women is their donation of time and talents to give back and making sure others know they are loved and cared about. Whatever your craft skill may be, a great new year’s resolution is to give back through the making process. Why not share your time and talents with people in need and in return gain personal fulfillment when you help others? We Make For Good is a non-profit arm of Fairfield Processing; through this initiative Fairfield donates their products to these makers to offset costs. Click here for more information on the We Make For Good program or to help one of these women or organizations.