Local non-profits receive donations from Swift Current quilting and sewing group
Residents at the Riverview Village Estates retirement home in Swift Current have been in isolation for several weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it did not stop them from giving back to the community.
Members of the quilting and sewing group at Riverview Village Estates have made over 500 face masks that raised funds for two local non-profit organizations.
Krista Caswell, the activity director at the retirement home, said about 13 residents participated in the project, which raised $1,800 through the sale of face masks to residents, family members and some community members.
“I think it definitely gave them a sense of purpose, because our doors had to be closed to family members and it was just staff and residents that were in our building,” she noted. “It gave them a sense of normalcy too.”
Members of the group were still able to go to the craft room, where some made face masks while keeping their physical distance. Others collected the materials from the craft room and then sewed in their suites.
“So they were able to work on a project and it passed the time, and they knew that they were doing something worthwhile that not only our residents needed, but their family members needed in the community too,” she said. “It was just a sense of purpose and it really helped with their mental health as well, I think.”
The size of the craft room made it easy for the members of the group to keep a safe physical distance from each other while they were working.
“Our craft room is quite large,” she said. “So we would only have about four ladies in there at a time, and they would all take their corner, and different ladies would come down and they would grab the supplies that were pre-cut and that just needed to be sewed. They would take it up to their suites, just because we did need to watch for social distancing and it was at the height of it. So we didn’t know where COVID was. We just made sure our residents were safe, because that’s the most important.”
Caswell felt the project was also a morale booster for the other residents at Riverview Village Estates during a period of isolation due to the COVID-19 public health measures.
“With the group of ladies that were sewing, it really helped them pass the time, and other residents could see what they were doing,” she said. “It gave us a sense of belonging in our building and a sense of purpose.”
Riverview Village Estates implemented various measures in March to protect residents during the pandemic. Access to the building was restricted to residents and staff only, and family members and other visitors were not allowed.
Physical distancing measures and additional cleaning procedures have been implemented inside the building. It meant that many of the social activities for residents could not take place any longer.
“I had to stop my activities, just because our activities could draw in anywhere from 60 to 100 of our residents,” she said. “So it’s very hard to keep everyone distanced with those numbers.”
Staff continued to create a relaxing atmosphere for residents to help them to deal with the pandemic situation. They had music playing in the hallways, and games were available in the main areas for individual residents to use. Caswell set up an activity wall where residents can pick up crafts and puzzles for recreation in their own suites.
“Just little things to keep them busy and being able to just come out of their suite, grab a new activity and go back up to their suite really helped,” she said.
Riverview Village Estates is now following the guidelines of the Saskatchewan Health Authority to allow family members to visit residents.
“In order to come visit a resident here, you need to make an appointment,” she said. “Then we ask them a varied amount of questions and we take their temperatures, just to make sure that we have a good log book, and they can only come during Monday to Friday, eight to four, to monitor who is coming in and who is coming out of our building.”
The easing of restrictions to allow visitors made it possible for the quilting and sewing group to do cheque presentations on June 9 to the two non-profit organizations that were selected to receive the money raised through the sale of the face masks.
The Center and the Canadian Mental Health Association Swift Current branch each received a donation of $900.
“The group together made that decision” Caswell said about the selection of the beneficiaries. “They looked at the community and how it was being affected by COVID-19, and which organizations would really need it the most.”
The group selected The Center due to its activities to provide support to youth in the community. The group also felt the funding will benefit The Center’s expanded meal program, which was started in March to support youth and families during the pandemic.
The group realized that mental health services have become even more important during the pandemic, and they therefore wanted to make a donation to the local Canadian Mental Health Association branch.
The members of the quilting and sewing group are not making face masks at the moment and they are taking a bit of a break.
“They haven’t been making face masks lately, but that’s just because the requests for them have lessened,” she said. “The majority of all residents here at Riverview were able to get two face masks each and then the community members were able to get some too. So the requests have stopped.”
The group will work on various projects throughout the year and in the past they have used their activities to raise funds for different non-profit organizations.
“Last year they made a beautiful quilt and we raffled it off, and that money went to Telemiracle,” she recalled. “They sell quilts throughout the year. So they’ll work on little quilts, blankets, they do little items for grandkids. They make little aprons and things like that for kids, and throughout the year they just sell them and at the end of the year they look at where they want to donate. Last year they actually donated $200 to each of the schools for their breakfast programs. They’ve donated to the Salvation Army before, the safe shelter, things like that. They really do try to make sure that they touch at least every organization in Swift Current.”
The members of the quilting and sewing group at Riverview Village Estates during the cheque presentation to The Center Executive Director Nathan Wiebe, June 9. He is standing at right in the back row, wearing a face mask.
The Center Executive Director Nathan Wiebe receives a cheque of $900 from Ev Diguer, a member of the quilting and sewing group at Riverview Village Estates.