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Vera Backman was continuing to do what she’d always done. She didn’t realize her sewing projects would catch on, creating a group of ladies determined to do good in their community and the larger Jefferson City area as well.
It all started one day when Vera was in the sewing room at Heisinger Bluffs, a Lutheran Senior Services Life Plan Community in Jefferson City, Missouri, making pillows to donate to a local organization. The other ladies were curious about what she was doing and once they heard, they wanted to help too.
Vera has long used her sewing and crafting talents to help others. A habit of hers that she credits to having grown up during the Great Depression.
“You looked around and you wanted to help somebody and that’s still with us,” said Vera of the ladies’ motivation to use their talents for good. “There are so many things we can do here in Jefferson City that we haven’t thought of yet.”
But these ladies will think of it. The group calls itself Sewing with A Cause. It’s made up of about 40 ladies across all levels of living at Heisinger Bluffs. Their main project is sewing pillows for area organizations, especially those who help children and women. These pillows are intricate works of art – thoughtfully embroidered with animals and other decorations.
The organizations that receive the pillows keep in contact with the group. The ladies often receive letters thanking them for the donations and photos sharing how much the recipients of the gifts are enjoying them. And occasionally, they even receive a special request.
“A nurse in surgery at Capital Region Hospital wrote us the nicest letter!” explained Vera. “Children come to the hospital for oral surgery and have teeth removed and the nurse requested tooth fairy pillows. So, I embroidered a tooth fairy on one side and tooth with a pocket that snaps closed where they can save their tooth.”
Other organizations Sewing with a Cause donates pillows to includes Special Learning Center, which helps children with special needs and their families; HALO, which supports young women and their children; and veterans’ organizations in Columbia, Missouri. In 2019, the group donated more than 400 pillows to area organizations.
“Everybody here is interested in giving back to the community,” added Vera. “And in bringing people here together.”