Senior Stitchers looking for new venue

Photo Provided The Senior Stitchers group poses with a quilt they recently finished. The nonprofit group provides a variety of sewn items for a variety of groups and organizations throughout the community. The group has to vacate their current location in early January and needs to find a new place to operate and store around 30 sewing machines, tables and materials. Pictured are, from left, LeGretta Russell, Barb Murray, Carolyn Bailes, Barb Hibner, Pat Barker, Jean Houck, Priscilla Jensen, Linda Dailey, Lita Doyle, Dianne Tribo, Leona Sartor and Sister Loretta Rose.

PARKERSBURG — The Senior Stitchers are looking for a new place to do their work for the community.

The group, which has around 25 members, has spent the last 12-14 years at the Wood County Senior Citizens Association building at 914 Market St. in Parkersburg. They recently received notice the area they use would be needed for other purposes and they would have to vacate in early January, said group President Pat Barker.

“It is an overwhelming task,” she said. “We need help finding a place to locate to.

“We need some help and support so we can continue doing what we are doing.”

The group provides goods to approximately 20 facilities and groups. Items they have made include quilts (for infants up to queen size), clothing protectors, catheter bags, walker bags, phone bags, heart pillows, bone pillows, Fidget blankets/aprons, duffel bags, Christmas stockings, hospice gowns, lab robes and more.

In just the last three months, the group provided 40 quilts to Westbrook Health Services for programs to help women coming out of bad situations and their group home, plus 50 Christmas Stockings along with clothing protectors and walker bags.

They make approximately 700 Christmas stockings for various groups each year.

They also put together quilts and present them to each family who works for and buys a house through Habitat For Humanity.

“We feel we provide services to the community that justify continuing,” Barker said. “We do not want to disband.

“Our group is strictly nonprofit, and we have no means to pay rent or utilities. We go on donations totally.”

They receive donations of mostly materials and money to buy materials.

The group is looking for a new place to locate, as well as help to move all of their materials and equipment, which includes around 30 sewing machines and tables.

Their membership ranges from people in their late 50s to their mid-90s, with many in their 70s.

“We have a lot of talent and a lot of skills there,” Barker said.

The Senior Stitchers would need a location on the ground floor of a building or somewhere with elevator access, she said.

From April to September 2018, the Senior Stitchers put in 2,541 hours of volunteer work, according to MariJo Tedesco, Retired Senior Volunteer Program director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council.

“These ladies produce,” she said. “What they do is benefiting the community.”

The Senior Stitchers meet each Tuesday morning to sew from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Most of the ladies take sewing home to work on during the week,” Barker said.

The Senior Stitchers have made items for First Settlement Orthopedics, Parkersburg Orthopedics, DaVita, Children’s Home Society, Ohio Valley Nursing Home, Cedar Grove Personal Care, Ravenswood Care Center, Love and Care Personal Care, Eagle Point, The Willows, Parkersburg Care Center, Gabriel Project, Hospice House Calls, Amedisys, Old Man Rivers, Camden Clark Medical Center and the Charleston Area Medical Center Neonatal ICU, as well as foster children and individuals affected by house fires and flooding.

They recently received a “thank you” note from a woman they gave a quilt to through Westbrook, Barker said. The woman told them she was now “warm” because of their efforts.

“That is why we do what we do,” Barker said. “Absolutely nobody is ever charged for anything given them.”

Over the past few months, the Wood County Senior Association Board of Directors has discussed plans to lease out the building space on Market Street and find a new location for the senior center. Plans are in place to renovate the building.

Richard Hayhurst, board secretary and treasurer, said the decision to have the Senior Stitchers leave was not a reflection of anything against the group. It was about getting the space prepared or a new tenant.

“We have been very happy to have been able to provide a home for them for the last several years,” he said. “We hope someone will now take up the mantle and provide them with a space where they will be able to continue to do their work.”

The group wants to get the word out in hopes someone will have some available space they might be able to use.

“We hope that someone knows of a place or someone who knows someone who might have a place so these ladies can keep going and doing their thing,” Tedesco said.

Such a space could be used as a tax write-off for a business or a foundation.

The group will be sending out letters to local churches and businesses to see if they can get any leads on possible space that might be available.

“Our group is worthy of support and a place to continue our volunteer services,” Barker said.

Anyone wanting more information on the Senior Stitchers or who might have a lead on a possible location is asked to call Barker at 304-428-0587.

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