BY BREANNA COLLINS, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES VISTA, THE HUB
On the first Thursday of every month, a group of dedicated community members gather at Buffalo Flats in Grafton to enhance the lives of others.
Cheryl Weaver, resident of Grafton, WV, underwent back surgery early in 2017 that landed her at home for a few months. During her stint at home she decided to pick up her crochet needles as a way to pass her time. On a weekend trip to Walmart, Cheryl ran into a friend who kindly asked how she was feeling. She explained to her friend, Jill Boyles, that she could only crochet so much.
Interestingly enough, Jill began to explain to Cheryl that her daughter, Heidi Chickerell, was in need of some crocheted items. Jill happily passed along Heidi’s contact information for Cheryl to get in touch with her as she could better explain what she was looking for.
Heidi, Volunteer Coordinator with Amedisys Hospice, explained to Cheryl that she was looking for Prayer Shawls/Comfort Blankets for Hospice patients.
Amedisys Hospice employees are required to obtain volunteer hours that go towards the free service that Hospice offers. Cheryl was excited to get to work on these. Within a month Cheryl had made seven shawls for the patients and passed them along to Heidi. During a conversation, Cheryl asked Heidi how many blankets she could use. Heidi explained that the rate of incoming patients was about twenty three per month.
Cheryl quickly realized that the need was greater than what she could do herself.
Cheryl began to research crochet clubs. She made a list of people she knew that crocheted, knitted, and sewed and began reaching out to see if they might be interested in being part of a club. She talked with local business owners Donna and Tom Hart to see what they thought of the idea and if they’d be willing to let this group meet at Buffalo Flats on Main Street. They loved the idea and encouraged Cheryl on her path.
Cheryl ran through the idea over and over when she decided that this club was something that she wanted to create.
Coming up with the perfect name for this group was important to Cheryl. Stitchers had to be a part of the name as she wanted it to be all inclusive to anyone who could stitch anything.
Cheryl began to reach out to her list again to let them know that the group would hold its first official gathering on the first Thursday in June at 6 pm at Buffalo Flats. Cheryl recruited and invited people that she ran into all over town. Finally, the first Thursday in June was here. She arrived at Buffalo Flats early to get set up and ready for the clubs first gathering. Donna Hart recalls a conversation where Cheryl explained to her that she’d be thrilled if six people showed up.
At 6pm, people began to arrive. More than thirty people showed up – and Stitchers with a Purpose was born.
The Stitchers meet once a month, on the first Thursday of every month at Buffalo Flats. They gather together to create an atmosphere of friendship and community with a love for giving. They work on their shawls all month long at home and look forward to their time together each month to catch up and be together.
Cheryl has become an official volunteer of Amedisys Hospice so that every ounce of time spent on a shawl is volunteer time, and whether at home or with the group, the time goes toward the free service Hospice offers their patients.