Volunteers on a Mission to Bring Patients Comfort

Author: Leslie Toldo

Nearly every Friday, a determined group of volunteers gather in a small dining room inside McLaren Flint’s cafeteria.  You might never know they were even there unless someone pointed them out to you. The funny thing about that is this group of auxiliary members is doing important behind the scenes work for the hospital. 

They are called the Comfort Sewers. Yes, they get together weekly to sew in that small dining room.  Make no mistake, this is not your average sewing circle. This group makes blankets, pillows, chemo caps, walker caddies, and an array of other items.  While the handmade goods may vary, they all serve but one purpose- providing comfort to McLaren Flint patients.

The Comfort Sewers have been around since the 1980s, but they went by another name, The Puppet Ladies.  The first group of sewers made puppets for pediatric patients.  When the auxiliary saw the need for different products, they evolved into the Comfort Sewers. 

I asked them how many things they have sewn for patients over the decades.  None of the sewers had an exact figure, but they all agreed the grand total was in the tens of thousands. That means this group’s creations have literally brought comfort to thousands of patients. 

Over the years, patients have called and written to thank these hard-working volunteers for using their skills to make battling cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions at least a little more tolerable.  Staff, who know when and where the Comfort Sewers gather often stop by to give thanks.  But these women are not in it for the accolades.

“I do it because I have the time, and it’s a fun way to give back,” said the group’s chairperson, Pam Arndt. “We’re paying it forward every time we make something new.”

To these volunteers, their work may boil down to paying it forward, but to the strangers they help, these women are doing so much more. This group is providing a smile, a sign of relief- the priceless gift of comfort. 

If you would like to join the Comfort Sewers or help patients in another way, Auxiliary Volunteer opportunities can be found here.