The BB2C Makerspace on Lancaster Street in Harmar Village serves many functions: it’s a space for learning new skills, networking with other makers, and experimenting with new equipment and technology. On Saturday, June 29th, it was also a place for community members to bond over an act of kindness and goodwill.

Local residents of all ages and experience levels met for three hours on Saturday afternoon to create colorful, reusable bags for those who visit the Gospel Mission Food Pantry. The event was coordinated by Ann Seigfried, a Fiber Arts Instructor at the Makerspace, and Sally Summers.

Summers wanted to create an opportunity to welcome new faces to the Makerspace while at the same time providing a service to the community. “Originally, Sally Summer reached out to me about making the bags, with Gospel Mission Food Pantry in mind. Brad Hemmerly, the Makerspace Coordinator, spoke with Gospel Mission about their need for bags and we started planning,” said Seigfried.

Fifteen members of the community participated on Saturday, measuring and cutting fabric, ironing material, and sewing the bags together. Over the course of three hours, the volunteers had sewn 50 reusable bags for the food pantry.

While most classes at the Makerspace have a cost, Siegfried and Summers chose to instead encourage attendees to bring much-needed food and clothing donations for Gospel Mission. “We collected three large trash bags full of clothing, and multiple cases for peanut butter, macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles which is what the gospel mission had asked us to collect,” said Hemmerly.

“We had two high school students [participate] all the way up to multiple senior individuals from the community helping us in our efforts,” Hemmerly said. “One of our elder participants brought her own trusted sewing machine, putting it to great use turning out bags, as well as quickly breaking out YouTube on her cell phone to help us get another machine working!”

“Both knowledgeable and inexperienced sewers worked side by side, asking questions, offering advice, and getting to know one another,” said Ahni Georgerian, a Marietta High School student who attended Saturday’s event and authored this blog post. For many, it was their first time inside the BB2C Makerspace. During a sewing break, participants had an opportunity to tour the facility and were impressed by the number of spaces and machines housed inside. “It definitely sparked interest in people to come back and utilize another area,” said Hemmerly.

Although this was the first Maker Meet-Up of its kind, Hemmerly said they will be hosting more, similar programs in the future, including a second Sewing with Kindness work day on Saturday, July 20th. “If there are people who cannot make in person, we are continuing to accept food and clothing donations,” he said.

The next Sewing with Kindness get together will be Saturday, July 20th from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Siegfried and Summers invite beginner and expert sewers alike to join in the fun to sew more bags for the Gospel Mission Food Pantry, and also welcome donations of cotton fabric and thread for this and future projects. Sewers are also welcome to bring their own machines to use. To make sure there are enough machines and materials available, please register with BB2C if you plan to attend.