Volunteers sew hundreds of pillowcases for hospitalized children
Ginger Beasley, coordinator of the mid-Missouri chapter, said even though they're based in Fulton, the volunteer organization takes pillowcases to hospitals all over Missouri to help patients cope with the stress of life-changning illnesses and injuries.
"We take pillow cases to Columbia, Moberly, Hannibal and Kirksville. We have sent to Joplin, Springfield, Jefferson City and much more. We have a lot of hospitals that we serve because we don't have one hospital that takes a huge amount," Beasley said.
Every volunteer hand-sews the pillow cases in a variety of colors, styles and designs. Children are given a wide selection and can pick whatever pillow they like best. If they are in the hospital for more than a few days, they can get another one.
Some of the volunteers put encouraging notes inside the pillowcases for the children to read.
"We started five years ago and we made 44 [pillowcases]. Last year we made around 160. We hope to make at least 200 today. our chapter as a whole has made almost 15,000 in five years that we have distributed to local hospitals, so it's a growing enterprise I guess i could say and people just love giving to others especially when children are involved.
Ramona Dobson is a member of First Presbyterian Church and has volunteered for the past five years. She said her personal experience encouraged her to get involved.
"My son fell out of a tree and broke a bunch of bones and he had a friend that made him a special pillowcase and it meant a lot to him, so i know the kids appreciate getting the pillowcases. Something to brighten their day is a nice thing," Dobson said.
Over 300 women are involved with Ryan's Case for Smiles from around mid-Missouri. This was the sixth year the chapter has come together for the annual community event.
"We have such an overwhelmingly giving community here that we have lots of pillow cases to distribute. We call them pillow case smiles and our motto is we want to make children feel better to heal better," Beasley said. "We like to think that when we are making pillow cases we want something that will put a smile on the children's faces."
The founder and CEO, Cindy Kerr, started Ryan's Case for Smiles in 2007 after her son died of cancer.
"She was a quilter, so she thought she could make pillowcases for her son. Each time she would visit him in the hospital she took a new pillowcase," Beasley said.
There are more than 120 chapters of Ryan's Case for Smiles nationwide comprised of thousands of volunteers.
More information on how to get involved can be found on Ryan's Case for Smiles website.