Ladies sewing group crafts a million handmade donations

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A group of a dozen or so women living in the Cypress Village retirement community have been meeting to sew and chat for the last eight years.

"Well we've had as many as 20, and we used to meet once a week," said group founder Mary LaSala.

Now they get together twice a month to make crafts to donate to local hospitals.

"My husband passed away and I was devastated, and didn't know what to do" LaSala said. "We had an activities director then who told me I should give this a try."

A sewing group would be right up LaSala's alley, before retirement she owned a Singer sewing machine franchise, and had tons of fabric and materials left over after she closed shop.

"She donated everything," said Adele Flannery who's 93-years-old and has been sewing in the group since the beginning.

"All the material you see here she had let us use, and we don't waste anything," Flannery said.

The 12 women work around a crowded table in an activity room on the third floor of the Cypress Villages apartments.

They're making dolls and stuffed animals for children in local hospitals.

They also make blankets, pillows and caps for patients going through chemotherapy.

And while they do spend a good bit of time socializing and chatting, they've managed to do a lot of work over the last eight years.

LaSala says they've made and donated a million items to local hospitals and charities.

"It's mind boggling," she said. "I really can't believe it."

"We never thought we would get to a number like that," Flannery added.

Their next goal is to make 100 stuffed dolls for the Salvation Army by Christmas.

"It feels so good to do this," LaSala said. "To know that all this work could make a child happy for just a couple minutes makes it all worth it."


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