Local Sewing Efforts Mean Everything to Health Staff

Hero bags, scrub hats and masks all a welcome sight during pandemic

Doctors, nurses, aids, and health care workers across the board need the support and the empathy of the public now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a way of saying thank you, a number of people from the local area have put their skills to work in making sure that staff have what they need in order to safely do their jobs.

Dawn Thomson, who works as an Education Assistant at Dinsmore Composite School, teamed up with her daughter Paige to undertake an ambitious project that involves sewing together what are being called ‘hero bags’.  The bags are used by nurses and health care staff in order to store their uniforms and essential workwear.

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Sun West Educational Assistant Dawn Thomson (left) and her daughter Paige (right) holding up two of the hero bags they produced for health workers. - Sun West School Division

Thomson says she was inspired by a similar idea being explored in Alberta.

“I read a Facebook post by a lady in Fort McMurray who was making the bags for the nurses there,” said Dawn, in an email to this reporter.  “I called my friend in Martensville who is an ICU nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital to see if she would use one, and she thought that they would be great.  Making them has given me a way to feel like I’m helping to beat Covid 19 so we can resume our normal connections with people.”

Dawn, who learned sewing through her mom in 4-H Club when she was 8 years old, has enjoyed passing on her knowledge to her daughter Paige.  Together, and with the help of others who saw what’s special about the cause, they’ve sent out dozens of hero bags to health facilities in the city and right here at home.

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A thank-you note included in one of the ‘hero bags’. - Shari Lynn

“My daughter and I have made 114 bags so far,” she said.  “Elaine Thomson and Jenn Blummer have also helped me sew.  We have sent 32 to the city, 40 to Dinsmore Health Center and 100 to the Outlook Health Centre.  Wanda Sothmann and Sue Christiansen have helped by donating some of the fabric.”

As long as there continues to be a need, Dawn says that Paige, herself and others will keep at it in order to try and give back to the front-line workers who need the support.

“I will make more bags if there is a need,” said Thomson.  “Right now I am making face masks and crocheted bands to keep the elastic from the masks from rubbing on wearers’ ears.”

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Outlook health staff model their newly-donated scrub hats. - Shari Lynn

When some people aren’t keeping themselves busy sewing and distributing bags for health staff, others are creating more items for workers such as surgical caps.  Shari Lynn of the Outlook Health Centre pointed out the work done by Kathy Casper and Melissa Theoret of Outlook, who made scrub hats, as well as mask ear protectors created by Nicole Ponto of Outlook and Jan Anderson of Glenside.

Kim Olson of the Broderick Garden Centre in Outlook, who helped facilitate a drop-off of scrub hats, spoke of the exceptional work that has been done in the community to help local health care staff.

“The ask came from a nurse,” Kim explained.  “I don't really have permission to tell you exactly, but we have a Outlook quilting FB page and I just posted there that I wanted to have some sewists make them and they all grabbed from their stash of fabric (all quilters have a "stash" of quilting cotton) and within a few days they were leaving caps on my cart for me to pass along to the nursing staff.  Lots were grateful to do something useful for those on the front lines.”

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Mask ear protectors donated by local residents. - Shari Lynn

Indeed, it seems that while we’re doing our part and self-isolating in our homes, others are going the extra mile and doing something for those workers of the most essential variety.  In addition to the ones mentioned above, this also includes Outlook resident Kimberley Case, who was recently profiled this week on the 6:00 PM news broadcast of CTV Saskatoon as the newest 'Hometown Hero' for sewing thousands of protection masks in her time spent in self-isolation at home.  Case leaves them on her front porch for anyone to take freely, but encourages people to perhaps leave a donation to the local food bank.

Amidst the long hours and the unpredictability of each day, health care staff here at home and around the province certainly deserve all the support we can give them.

© The Outlook

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