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photo by Gord Bowes

photo by Gord Bowes

Hedi Maciuils (left) and Kathy Kerekesch put the finishing touches on a quilt that will be donated to Canadian Lutheran World Relief. They are members of the Friendship Circle, which meets every Monday at Transfiguration Lutheran Church On Fennell Ave. East.

Friendship Circle performs little miracles

By Gord Bowes, News staff

It may not be wine from water, but a group of women at a central Mountain church perform little miracles with fabric as part of their charitable efforts.
The Friendship Circle has been meeting for over 10 years at Transfiguration Lutheran Church, putting their talents to work to turn donated items into something new.
They turn old flannelette sheets into baby wear, towels into quilts, socks into wash cloths, men’s shirts into hospital gowns, and scraps of material into girls dresses and boys shorts for orphans in Haiti.
“It’s my pride and joy to take all the little pieces and put them together to make it work,” says Miriam Ruppenthal.
“We absolutely love to take ‘nothing’ and make something out of it.”
Ruppenthal credits master sewer Edye Carpenter for realizing the vision of others and putting the material together, often with lace trim she pays for out of pocket.
Carpenter says she takes the work home with her and sews almost every day.
“Sometimes my home work kind of goes to the side,” she laughs.
An average of 20 volunteers show up for four hours every Monday. Each has a different strength which is put to use.
The group’s work is donated to Canadian Lutheran World Relief as well as numerous local charities, such as Mission Services, Eva Rothwell Centre and The Bridge. They also work directly with families they know are in need.
The kits they assemble for Lutheran World Relief are transported to Winnipeg by Home Hardware, then shipped around the world. The women also set aside items for regular sales to raise money to ship the items out of the Canadian Lutheran World Relief warehouse to various points across the globe.
The group’s last shipment went to Tanzania. They are currently fulfilling a request for dresses for girls ages two to four for orphanages in Haiti.
Last year, they assembled 221 baby bundles — which include two sleepers, two undershirts, two receiving blankets, six safety pins, two wash cloths, four cloth diapers and a sweater — also donated 151 quilts for Canadian Lutheran World Relief to hand out. The Friendship Circle also works on hygiene, teacher and sewing kits to be delivered worldwide.
Anyone who wants to donate old clothing, toiletries or other usable items — there is a particular need for wool — is asked to call the church at 905-385-1321. The church office is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

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