Two local nonprofits teamed up this year to bring a little extra holiday cheer to Clark County seniors. For the last two years, volunteers with the Repair Clark County program have been sewing reusable fabric gift bags and giving them away to shoppers at the Vancouver Night Market during the holiday season. The ReWrap program created and gave away 150 and 600 bags in 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, with the pandemic, plans at the nonprofit needed to be adapted.
“I already had worked with Meals on Wheels People with the mask project we did earlier in the year,” Repair Clark County Program Coordinator Terra Heilman said in a news release. “When it became clear we weren’t going to be “business as usual” for ReWrap, I reached out to my mask contacts to see if anyone had a use for these gift bags.”
The repair program reached out to its sewists who had helped sew and distribute over 1,800 masks early in the pandemic.
This year, Meals on Wheels needed 1,000 bags to distribute donated holiday goodies.
“I had no idea if we could actually pull it off, but I was happy to have a project for us all to focus on,” Heilman said.
Using donated fabric and dipping into fabric stashes, sewists made simple gift bags that can be reused year after year.
“Normally, we sew at local markets and give away the gift bags right then and there,” Heilman said. “It helped us that we had more than a month to coordinate.”
In the end, the volunteers in the program were able to create more than 1,000 gift bags. They were passed to the Meals on Wheels program, and volunteers and staff filled the bags with donated holiday goodies such as slippers, flashlights and cookies.