By Dave Link, Eastside News
A popular service, put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has returned for users of the Fritz Food Pantry. A group of volunteer sewers, collectively known as the Goodman Menders, has begun mending and hemming clothing items brought in by pantry shoppers. The group is organized by Barb Wink and Nancy Didion.
“There’s been a lot of interest (by pantry shoppers),” Didion said. “People are glad to have the services back.”
“People are patient (while waiting) and are excited to get their items mended,” Wink said.
Goodman Menders currently set up their sewing machines on the first and third Wednesdays each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The group tries to get as much sewing and mending done as possible during their two hours at Goodman, so there’s a limit on how many items an individual can have fixed. Work is done first come, first served.
“We see a lot of variations on items to repair — people have even brought in comforters,” Wink said.
“Hemming, patching holes in clothes, sewing on missing buttons, fixing backpack tears are some of the things we’ve been doing,” Didion said.
The one thing the group does not do — replace zippers on items. They will however stitch up a zipper that’s starting to come loose.
Wink and Didion both feel offering mending to the public is an important service. Many people may not have the knowledge, skill, resources or time to mend items on their own.
“Many items are important and precious to people and they don’t want to throw them away,” Didion said.
“The repairs may not be perfect, but the items are still usable,” Wink said.
Both women said they love to sew and find it rewarding to give back to the community. They are hoping to find more who do, too.
Seeking more volunteers
The Goodman Menders are looking to add to their ranks so that they can add a Tuesday shift. Currently they have eight who volunteer on Wednesdays. They’d like to have 20 volunteers total. The group provides sewing machines and materials, they just need interested people to show up for the shifts.
“We want someone who is comfortable with simple repairs. We’re not doing fancy stuff,” Didion said. “The more volunteers we have, the more service we can offer.
“If you’re interested, come and watch to learn what we do.”
To learn more about the Goodman Menders, email Wink at firstname.lastname@example.org or Didion at email@example.com.
August 14 Update: Goodman Menders has welcomed 25 new volunteers in the last few weeks! Thank you to all who are helping expand this helpful volunteer service.
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