TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 93-year-old Claire Grunstein loves the folks at Mending Souls in Tucson, where she stopped by to pick up a handmade walker bag.
“I want to adopt them all,” Grunstein said.
Grunstein is one of many Tucsonans who receive special gifts to make their days a little bit brighter.
Michelle Don Carlos started the nonprofit in 2016 and says the sewing shop is filled with a team of volunteers who love to serve their community and it comes straight from the heart.
“Just a gesture of something lovingly handmade, that’s why these women they really are community angels, they are real heroes supporting the heroes and that makes them superheroes I think,” Don Carlos said.
Volunteers Olga Pickering and Melanie Bishop say all of the items are donated. They also say that nothing goes to waste fabric scraps are used to make pet beds for local animal shelters.
“We have kits for people to pick up they can take them home sew them and bring them back in,” Pickering said.
“Olga and I have been making school bags for the kids who need them and we’re going to teach a class,” Bishop said.
Ted Barr lost his wife and donated her sewing equipment to the group and in return they finished up her last project. It was a jacket made of patches, the couple collected during their travels over the last 40 years.
"I love them all they did a great job” Barr said.
“No matter if you knit, crochet or even just have a pair of scissors if you can just cut you can assemble or if you just want friends come and join us here because you will find a family,” Don Carlos said.
At the height of the pandemic, over 1,000 volunteers joined Mending Souls and focused on mask making for local hospitals. Now, they’re getting back to their original goal of making everything from booties for preemies in the hospital to chemo caps for patients and dignity bags for women, they have 30 items to choose from.
“I’m encouraging this to be global I think every community anyone who’s got hands that’s willing to assemble the kits and make things for out assisted living homes, shelters, school's hospitals, police departments. We even supplied masks for the fire fighters when there were fighting the fire on the mountain,” Don Carlos said.
Right now, about 100 volunteers cut, sew and stitch for Mending Souls, a number they hope to grow in the days to come.
“There are moments when we have to take a moment and realize what we’re doing at the machine translates to people in real world and it means so much to them. Everyone can play a part everyone has something to give,” Don Carlos said.
For more information on Mending Souls, click here.