On Saturday, September 8, the members of Sydenham Women’s Institute turned Grace Hall into a well-organized workroom for members from five area counties to participate in an all-day sewing bee. Their goal: to produce, sort and prepare for shipping 1,000 items for the Canada Comforts Society, to be sent to children in need throughout Canada and the developing world. The items included baby clothes, girls’ dresses, boys’ shorts, sweaters, blankets, washcloths, diapers and socks.
The hall was filled with work stations for cutting, sewing (14 machines arrived), ironing, inspection, vacuum bagging and packing. Thirty women worked all day, and many more dropped in with donations of fabric and clothing. A student volunteer acted as runner, assisted by Councillor Brad Barbeau. Mayor Vandewal and David Townsend came to welcome the workers.
Linda Bates of Verona, the Kingston Area WI President, opened the day by thanking Southern Frontenac Community Services for donating the use of the hall, and soup for lunch, and Wilton Cheese and Wilton Wheat Kings for the cheese and bread. Bates says other donations came from Hartington Community Care, Harrowsmith Oddfellows and Rebeccas, and Sydenham area residents.
At 9am the hall already had some tables heaped with new goods sent ahead of time by Institute members who could not be present. By the end of the day, 943 items were neatly packed for shipping, with promise of more to come. Bates has no question their very ambitious goal will be surpassed.