FEBRUARY 7, 1951
NEW YORK, Tuesday—The other day an old friend of mine in Poughkeepsie told me of something that was being done there that I thought might be of interest in other parts of our country.
After World War II the Red Cross did not require so many women in active projects and many groups disbanded. One of these groups had met in a place provided by the postoffice in Poughkeepsie, and, when they were told they were no longer needed, they regretted it but went back to working in their own homes.
One day my friend needed 40 pairs of slippers for the children's home in which she is interested. She remembered that during the war the group in the postoffice had turned them out in short order and taught her how to make them, so she went to inquire about them. She found a few of them and asked, if she could provide the materials, would they like to begin to work together and make these slippers. They told her they had missed their joint sessions of work and would love to work together again and would find some of the other members.
At first a few of them met in one another's homes. Then as the group grew and my friend discovered that charities all over the city needed sewing done, she succeeded in finding free space for them in Vassar Institute. The college moved a few exhibition cases to make room for 11 sewing machines that my friend was able to wangle from certain government sources.
She begged materials and the women met regularly once a week from nine to three. They brought their lunches, and collected five cents a week toward a sunshine box, and 10 cents a week toward a grand dinner to cost $2.75, which they planned for the group once a year. They had fun at their first dinner, singing songs and feeling that the year had been a success, for though they had no officers they kept a record of their work and they had a report.
They found that one of the hospitals in town had been saved $2,000 by their sewing, and another charitable organization felt they had contributed about the same amount in work which would otherwise have had to be paid for. This is only two organizations and yet they have done sewing for practically every organization in the city.
They call themselves the Civic Sewing Group and one of the things that occurred to me at once when I heard of it was, "Here is a group all ready to meet any needs under civilian defense." They are accustomed to working together, they meet regularly and they know each other. What better nucleus can you have for any work that is needed under civilian defense?
If in any other place anyone is interested in starting such a group, they can get full information from Mrs. John Hackett, 5 Whitehouse Ave., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.