By Kim Adams
On Monday, fashion design students at Grand Rapids Community College went to the Lemmen-Holten Cancer Pavilion and donated handmade quilts and bags. Most of the students dressed in sheath dresses they had created as a separate project for the class, and although many of the students described long nights of working on their quilts and dresses, students left Lemmen-Holten feeling that their work was worthwhile.
Margie Erlandson, the instructor of the Clothing Construction class, saw this as a great opportunity for her students.
“This became part of a service learning project because I wanted my students to see that fashion, design, creating and sewing was not just clothing for everyday or evening wear, but for those who were struggling with illnesses,” Erlandson said.
Neda Meyer, the director of the library and resources for Lemmen-Holten Cancer Pavilion, helped organize the event. She looked at each quilt carefully, and described how excited the patients would be when they saw each one.
“This one is a little smaller,” Meyer said, holding up a small quilt made out of yellow and red fabric. “It would be perfect for someone in a wheel-chair.”
She continued to say something meaningful about nearly every quilt and how happy the patients would be to receive them, taking her time to hold each of them up and thank every student.
Before the students left, Meyer made a point to shake each of their hands and thank them for their time and the beautiful quilts and bags they had made. The students left sharing stories of how cancer has affected their lives in different ways. Erlandson plans to continue doing this service project with her future classes.