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Young Sewing Enthusiasts Give Back To Community
Sewing girls  PIX
On hand for a special presentation at the Escalon Police Department on Monday afternoon were young sewing students, in front from left, Gianna Wilson, Tori Rich, Aislinn Ingles and McKenna Huntsman. In back, from left, are sewing teacher Wendy Merseth, Officer Carl Poortinga, Police Chief Mike Borges and Officer Mikale Bell. - photo by Photo Contributed

They may be young … but they are already experiencing the joy that comes from giving.

Not only have a group of four local girls learned a new skill – sewing – but they have put their efforts to good use by donating blankets they have sewn to the Escalon Police Department.

Serving as the sewing instructor is elementary teacher Wendy Merseth, who can’t say enough about the young students.

“This is just such a wonderful group of girls and back when the idea came up for making blankets, they also talked about doing stuff for others,” Merseth explained.

Over the past several months, the blankets they made went to an effort that provided blankets countywide but the local foursome wanted to do something in their own community.

So nine-year-olds Gianna Wilson, McKenna Huntsman, Aislinn Ingles and 11-year-old Tori Rich made a plan with Merseth to reach out locally. Merseth contacted the Escalon Police Department and it was decided they would donate blankets there, for officers to keep in their patrol cars for use in a variety of situations.

“We try to make them big enough for someone to stay warm,” Merseth explained.

The group of four young sewing enthusiasts has also made a number of smaller infant blankets.

Police Chief Mike Borges said the donation was unexpected but very welcome.

“We can use these for victims or with some of the people we come across,” Borges said, noting police often are first on an accident scene and could use a blanket to provide warmth if victims are outside the car.

“We also could have used one the other day when we had a lost child call,” the chief added, with Public Works crews finding a 20-month-old wandering in the community. A warm blanket would have been perfect for that scenario, he said.

Currently, officers carry emergency blankets but they don’t provide the long term warmth the sewn blankets will offer.

Merseth said the girls meet regularly to work on their sewing, setting aside one afternoon a week after school to meet and continue working on projects. They have been meeting for some time and most of the girls didn’t know how to sew before joining the unofficial sewing circle.

More than a half dozen blankets were donated to the police department on Monday, Jan. 22 and Merseth said the group is working on more so they can continue to keep the donations flowing.

“Some are quilted, they are plush, we make them with soft, cuddly fabric,” she said.

The group is also accepting donations, if people have unused material, thread, even an old sewing machine they are looking to get rid of.

“Anything that would help us sew,” said Merseth.

She can be reached at 209-609-3527 for more information or to arrange to make a donation of materials to the group.

Borges said he didn’t remember receiving this type of donation from local youths during his time in Escalon.


“We’ll be able to utilize these, no doubt,” said the chief.