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Sewing Club’s efforts land volunteer award at Hands On Nashville event

May. 12, 2016, 9:20 AM

The Vanderbilt Sewing Club, which crafts special linens for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and its patients, recently received a top honor at Hands On Nashville’s 30th Annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards ceremony.

The club, which originated in 1928, won the Civic Volunteer Group Award. Its members were especially busy during the 1930s.

“During the Great Depression, many families were so struggling financially that they were taking newborn babies home from the hospital wrapped up in newspapers,” said Julie Bulger, a volunteer coordinator for VUMC. “A group of doctors’ wives said, ‘This won’t do. We need to sew up some clothes for these babies.’ They have been sewing ever since.”

Longtime members of the club, which was formerly known as the Vanderbilt Auxiliary, still meet every other week to sew linens, including caddies for walkers.

One of the original members, a 97-year-old retired nurse, is still active with the group, Bulger said.

Another chapter of the group meets at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, where they make blankets, caps, mastectomy pillows and special aprons for breast cancer patients dealing with chest drainage tubes after surgery.

Several VUMC volunteers were nominated for Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards this year. Two other groups nominated were Project Sunshine and The Home Depot for their work supporting the Medical Center and its patients.

VUMC nominees in other categories included Victoria Harris and Spanky, pet therapy team; Hannah Hoover, Child Life Services; Eileen McDermott, Junior League Family Resource Center; Alyssa Parham, Child Life Services; and Hannah Von Haefen, guest ambassador.

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