The ties that bind

The Dunn Road Manor Thread Heads consists of seniors volunteering their time to sew various items for youth in need

By Charlotte Beard

Many seniors demonstrate that reaching retirement age does not mean reaching an age of discontinuing their contribution to society. Some of those seniors can be found among the community at Dunn Road Manor – Lutheran Senior Services in Florissant. Since the spring of 2018, a group of 17 seniors have committed to volunteering their time to sew various items for youth in need. They are called the Dunn Road Manor Thread Heads.

The oldest Thread Heads member is 86 years old. Some participants do not sew due to lack of desire or physical limitations but are involved in other activities, such as cutting out patterns or ironing material. Claudette Jackson began as one of those who prepared the material for sewing but now that she has a sewing machine, she will be an additional seamstress for the group.

The group assembles bi-weekly to sew. Occasionally other residents join them to volunteer their time. In addition, some members sew independently in their rooms, like Daisy Jones. 

Jones, who has been with the Thread Heads since its inception, shared, “I have always wanted to be a help to a person that needs help.”

Leigh Anne Hoormann, Service Coordinator for Dunn Road Manor shares how the group first began a year ago.

“I do an annual assessment with (the residents) to see what kind of services they may need,” stated Hoormann, “and (their interests) so I can bring those volunteers or activities into the community to keep them engaged as long as possible, and as independent as possible. I saw that there was a big interest in crafts, especially sewing. This group is very giving. They always like to do things for the community. We had someone at our corporate office who had told us she was going on a mission trip and she was looking for someone to make bags for children in Guatemala. I told the residents about it and they said, ‘We should start a sewing group; we could make these tote bags for these children.’ So, (when) this started last spring they made over 100 tote bags for (the mission trip). That was the first project. Then they wanted to continue; they started making teddy bears. Those have been given to groups around the area, (such as) Crisis Nursery and area children’s hospitals as well as the police force.”

After the Thread Heads’ initial projects were completed, they desired to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is an annual initiative to provide shoe box gifts through the Samaritan’s Purse organization. The group of seniors were informed that there was a great need for reusable feminine napkins for young girls. The group found a sewing pattern online and began their new project before the summer of 2018. Their project was completed for inclusion in the shoe box gifts that went to girls.

The Dunn Road Manor Thread Heads are currently working on the same project for this Christmas season. Their sewing initiatives for the boys will begin closer to September. The group is accepting donations now and plans to begin assembling all boxes the first week in November.

“Everything that they use comes through donations,” stated Hoormann. “Because our community is for low-income seniors, there is no specific budget for this type of program. We do get donations from Charity Sharity, which is a donor in South County that provides fabric to (various) sewing groups that will then turn projects around and give those to the community in some way.”

A vital donation towards the work of these seniors came from a nonprofit organization located in Wisconsin.

“Initially we received five machines from The Sewing Machine Project last October; we’re on the list to receive three more machines early this summer,” she said.

In addition, Hoormann shared that people have been very generous in donating via the community’s Facebook page (@LSSDunnRoadManor). They have received monetary donations and gift card donations to such places as Jo-Ann’s Fabric, as well as direct donations of material supplies. For inquiries about making donations send a message via Dunn Road Manor’s Facebook page.

“To do things to help people overseas or wherever, has been a joy to me,” stated the former teacher, Jackson. “I hate when I wake up and (the group) is starting already. Even if I (must) go to the doctor, if I have a few minutes I am there helping them. So, it’s a big joy to me to do this.”

CUTLINE: Submitted photos The Dunn Road Manor Thread Heads volunteer their time to sew various items for youth in need.