SJRMC Auxiliary Provides Hope, One Stitch At a Time

Young Patients Provided with Hand-Stitched Toy at SJRMC

“You have to keep taking the next necessary stitch, and the next one, and the next. Without stitches, you just have rags.” – Anne Lamott, author

It’s true: stitches and hospitals go together all too well. The highly skilled and compassionate stitchers do incredible work at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, and we’re exceedingly proud of the mending they give to their patients.

However, they’re not the only wielders of needles and thread at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. They have another group of highly skilled and compassionate threadmasters who work tirelessly year in and year out to bring healing through stitches, stuffed animals and smiles. Of course, we’re talking about the St. Joseph Auxiliary Toy Workshop.

For 47 years, the volunteers in the Auxiliary Toy Workshop has fashioned over 56,000 stuffed animals—one by one, one stitch at a time, one smile at a time. Young hospital patients between the ages of one and twelve get a toy during their stay at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. To some, what might look like a cute stuffed cat, dog, giraffe, dinosaur, or elephant, can easily resemble hope in the right hands at the right moment. For one little girl, the stuffed animal she received meant so much during her hospital stay that years later the toy tagged along to college with her.

Stories like that keep the Toy Workshop team going. Stitchers, stuffers, and sewers make around 1,000 stuffed animals annually, meeting twice a month. When the Toy Workshop started, washed old patient gowns and nylons were repurposed into stuffed animals. And now the process has evolved. All the raw materials are donated to the Toy Workshop including bolts of fabric, thread, ribbons, etc. Patterns keep the animals consistently sized. Special care is taken to prevent any possible choking hazards. Start to finish takes roughly 30 minutes per stuffed animal.

Currently, 15 St. Joseph Auxiliary members make up the Toy Workshop. They all just have a good time. It’s a productive, as well as social, atmosphere.

Thanks to this group of volunteers who care for these young patients and spread hope at SJRMC.


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