Not all the needles and stitches at McPherson Hospital are found in the emergency room. On the second floor of the hospital’s annex building, a dedicated group of volunteers come together each Monday to sew items used to comfort patients.

Alma Price, who has volunteered at McPherson Hospital for 22 years, said taking time out of her week to sew is a rewarding endeavor.

“We’re doing it to help our community,” Price said.

From identification patches sewn on EMS uniforms to seat belt covers to make them more comfortable for patients with an implanted port, the volunteers make more than 1,200 items each year.

“They’re not hard to make, it just takes a little time and effort,” Price said.

Many of the things the sewing group makes are for the hospital’s youngest patients. When a child comes in for surgery, they can pick out a cap made from brightly patterned material and take it home with them when they are released.

The group also makes teddy bears for children to hold when they come into the emergency room. The stuffed animals are also used by McPherson police officers to comfort a child who has been involved in a car crash.

“The police tell us how much they appreciate the help with the bears,” Price said.

McPherson Emergency Medical Service personnel use the teddy bears to see if a child who cannot or will not communicate can focus on or reach for it — or if some injuries prevent them from doing so.

Neck pillows and intravenous bands are other items the sewing group stitches together for hospital patients.

“It just is amazing that we can do things to help,” Price said.

Many unique items from the sewing group can be found in the hospital’s gift shop, which is also staffed by volunteers. Book bags, baby bibs, quilts, table runners, aprons, rice bags and casserole carriers from the sewing group are offered for sale in the gift shop. The group also hems and embroiders around 400 tea towels each year.

The hours spent behind sewing machines give the volunteers an opportunity to share stories about their own lives while they work on their seemingly endless list of projects.

“We have an awful lot of fun,” Price said.

While they may not be seen by the public, Price said she has had people come up and thank her for the care she puts into the items she makes.

“It makes us feel good and wonderful,” Price said. “We get a lot of joy out of doing it.”

The group can always use more volunteers, Price noted, and there are even opportunities to take projects home and return them to the hospital. Expert sewing skills are not a requirement.

“If you can master sewing a straight line, you can do this,” Price said.

Those who are interested in volunteering at McPherson Hospital can contact Diana Holloway at 620-241-2251, ext. 255.

“It’s a very good place to volunteer,” Price said. “We’ve plugged away for years and I hope it goes on forever.”

The McPherson Hospital gift shop is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.