WHEATLAND – In an age when we are urged to recycle, Arlene Robbins and her group of sewing ladies from Covenant Lutheran Church on South Street are doing more than their share.
What began as the late Stan and Ann Trueblood taking clothes to the Orphan Grain Train in Julesburg, Colo., mushroomed into a full-fledged “Diaper Day” project. No, they don’t buy diapers; they make them out of discarded tee-shirts. (Orphan Grain Train is a Missouri Synod Lutheran organization.)
Robbins was given the initial pattern in 2010. “I saw this was a very doable project and was sewing them at home,” she said.
Then it began to grow and now it’s a September - May once-a-month sewing day at the church. On the last day of this year’s sewing, seven ladies were working in their very comfortable fellowship hall “sweat shop” making all manner of colored diapers. Most of the ladies bring their own machines but one stays at the church, a donation from Dottie Steely’s family.
Marge Scholten at the Community Thrift Store keeps them supplied with tee shirts; as well, many are dropped by the church as happened at “diaper day” last week. “No, we don’t need any more shirts,” said Cindy Anderson. “I have a garage full that have to be made up!”
The required 50 percent-cotton shirts of all colors except black are cut horizontally under the arms, back and front together, then folded over to make a final piece 12” x 16”. It makes a 4-layer strip down the middle which the sewers then stitch down about 3 inches from either side. The raw edges are zigzagged and the diaper is ready for a baby’s bottom.
“I have over 600 [prepared diapers] at my house. As we [Rick & Arlene] head for Chicago for our grandson’s graduation, we’ll drop them off at Julesburg,” Robbins continued.
“We know for sure many have gone to Haiti but also to other third-world countries. Julie Minear hand-delivered a load to Tanzania and Laura Lewis took many when she went on a mission trip to Haiti,” added Robbins.
Listening to the group and watching them work, it was obvious they knew this project was a labor of love for people in need far, far away from Wheatland.