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Pillow Pals sew love for friends and neighbors

When Jerri Phillips’ mother moved into Salina Presbyterian Manor, she was met with a comforting welcome present.

“She was gifted a fleece pillow that had been hand-crafted by the Pillow Pal group of volunteers,” said Jerri, who is the Home Health nurse at Salina Presbyterian Manor. “She loved it, and uses it! I thought it was such a wonderful gesture that I decided to volunteer with the group.”

Jerri, along with “Pastor Dave” Parker, help coordinate the Pillow Pal group. Pastor Dave has been with the Manor since July 2022, and Jerri has been here about a year as well.

Originally, the group was known as the Stitch & Pray group, and was formed by the former Chaplain, Mary Bridges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the group’s suspension for a time.

“Personally, I wasn’t aware of the group’s prior activity,” Pastor Dave said. “But several women talked to me about how much they loved making them for residents and the community at large. So, we brought it back with a different name and the ladies are having a wonderful time doing good work for the community.”

The Pillow Pal group makes homemade pillows for each new resident. They also sew pillows for patients at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center. Each pillow comes with a small note explaining the group’s hope.

“I believe the pillow serves a two-fold purpose,” Jerri said. “It is a way to welcome folks into the Manor family, and also gives volunteers the opportunity to share their talents in a charitable fashion.”

The group typically draws between 6 to 8 volunteers every other week. They work for about an hour stitching the pillows together. Over time the group has donated “hundreds” of pillows with plans to donate many more in the coming years.

“When the group gathers, everyone just falls into the assembly line where they feel their hand leads them,” Jerri said. “I generally run the sewing machine as I have experience and enjoy that part. Some cut, some stuff, and some tie. In the end, a lovely crafted gift has been made with generous hearts. We also love visiting and the social time.”

Pastor Dave sometimes takes on a different role with the group.

“Personally, crafting is not my forte,” he said. “So, I hang out with them from time to time and chat. We hash over ideas. And I do my best to stay a step ahead of their needs for fabric, stuffing, tools, etc. The women do all the hard work. Generous and caring hearts each one of them.”

The finished project is a gift that people love to receive.

“They all love them” Pastor Dave said. “It’s such a joy to walk around to the rooms and see them wrapped around so many necks. It’s a great way to introduce myself to new residents or previous residents who haven’t received one before. They always seem so excited both to receive the gift, and to be connected to the Manor in such a way.”

Both Pastor Dave and Jerri expressed how much joy and happiness the group brings to them.

“I personally would like to thank them for their time and for being part of something that is so important to our community,” Pastor Dave said. “The generosity of their time and talents is just awesome. It is such a blessing to see the joy they have in creating these pillows for their Manor family.”

“I enjoy being part of this volunteer group,” Jerri said. “And getting to know them and participating in their generosity.”

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