Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gifts for Refugees: Lois Klassen Teaches Us How to Make MCC Kit Bags

Yesterday Lois Klassen taught a drop-in class how to make kit bags for the MCC. Kit bags can be used to send hygiene or school kits to refugees throught the Mennonite Central Committee. They are made from sturdy material and the practical design makes them very useful. The same basic design can also be used to make eco-friendly reusable gift bags.

The pattern is available to download here. We found that one of the instructions didn't make sense. It asks you to put the right sides together to sew the hemmed bag, but that way the hems are on the outside of the bag. It looks simple, but it's actually good to have help to get your head around how the pattern works, but once you've made one, you can ace them pretty quickly.

We listened to soulful Christmas music, noshed on good treats and caught up with one another's news.  One person even learned to sew for the first time, which is like watching a little bird learn how to fly. I remember my mom making similar kits with her friends at the Red Cross and  The Homemakers. I seem to recall they made comfort kits for new mothers. It feels good to continue this Canadian tradition.

You can just make the bags and donate them, but if you want to fill the kits, and drop them off at an MCC site, here's what you can put inside:

Contents (NEW items only)
  • 4 spiral or perforated notebooks (8 1⁄2 x 10 1⁄2 in and 70 sheets)
  • 8 unsharpened pencils
  • 1 ruler (flat, flexible plastic; indicating both 30 cm and 12 in)
  • 12 colored pencils (in packaging)
  • 1 large pencil eraser

Contents (NEW items, in original packaging) 
  • 1 adult-size toothbrush
  • 1 large bar bath soap
  • 1 fingernail clipper (good quality)
  • 1 hand towel (dark color)

1 comment:

  1. Lori - thank you for your excellent reportage and photos! Everyone's interest in the kit bags was touching. I thought we were going to wrap our families' loot, but no - everyone seemed more intent on sewing for those in need.