Spring Grove middle school students donate handmade gifts


Piles of brightly colored handmade quilts, pillowcases and bags adorned the stage at Spring Grove Area Middle School's auditorium Friday, all laid out for the Seventh Annual Sharing Assembly.

More than 800 hand-sewn projects, all created by the eighth-grade class and the school's sewing club, were donated to organizations and hospitals in York County.

"During this school year, many students have had the opportunity to be involved in one way or another in creating something that will make someone else's life a little bit easier," said Lyn Greco, who teaches family and consumer science.

Greco and fellow FCS teacher Ruth Benner organized the sewing club and the Sharing Assembly, and the community donated supplies.

"Around this time of year, we look at our dwindling supplies and wonder if we will have what we need for the coming year, but this wonderful community always comes through," Greco said.

"It is amazing the outpouring of support we have received over the years."

Project Linus: Students created more than 30 quilts for Project Linus, named for Charles Schulz's blanket-toting character from Peanuts.

The organization gives unique, handmade blankets to children struggling with severe illness or trauma.

Since it was organized in 2012, the York County chapter of Project Linus has donated nearly 3,000 blankets to various facilities across the county, including York and Memorial hospitals, Human Life Center and Asera Care Hospice.

Students learned about pinning and matching corners, sewing strips together, sewing through layers of batting, trimming and turning the quilts and sewing around the edges until finally tying the quilt together, Greco said.

"The last six quilts were finished just yesterday, and it was quite a sight to see," she said. "Several students huddled around helping each other tying the final knots to meet today's deadline, cheering each other on."

ConKerr Cancer: ConKerr Cancer was started in 2002 by Cindy Kerr, who made colorful pillowcases for her son to use during his long hospital stays.

What started as a simple way for a mother to brighten her son's hospital room has turned into a worldwide organization, boasting more than 100 chapters, dedicated to making fun pillowcases for sick children.

Marcy Kelly, the Baltimore representative for ConKerr Cancer, said the organization last year donated its millionth pillowcase, "and I know we could not have done that without (the local) dedication and support."

Bags: Students created walker and wheelchair bags, small bags which are easily attached to the units.

Because using wheelchairs and walkers often requires using both hands, something as simple as carrying an object to the next room can be difficult.

"Making these things, especially the wheelchair and walker bags, made me feel like I have really made a difference," said eighth-grader Autumn Shearer.

"Little things really can make the biggest difference in someone's life."

Sewing club member Sarah Staley said she valued her experience creating the projects.

"It's so much more than just a club, it's a community of workers," she said. "It means friendship, compassion and solidarity.

"My walker bag took a lot of time and hard work, but it made me proud to be a member of the FCS middle school sewing club."

For more information on Project Linus in York County, contact Patti-Jo Dietz at projectblankets@hotmail.com.

For more information on ConKerr Cancer, visit conkerrcancer.org.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.