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Area women work together to give back

Margaret Larsen, Delphi Klusmann, and Amy Fischer who off the pillowcases created to give to the Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety.

Delphi Klusmann, a former teacher, school secretary, and member of the Lennox Municipal Band, has spent years giving back to the Lennox and Tea communities. When she faced the daunting task of downsizing and moving after the death of her husband Joel, a friend noticed Delphi’s passion for sewing and carefully packed away all of her materials. However, after developing macular degeneration, Delphi was unable to see well enough to sew or read patterns.

Rather than letting these materials go to waste, Delphi enlisted the help of her friend Amy Fischer. The two came up with the idea that if Delphi was willing to donate the fabric and thread Amy would do the sewing.

Amy has a passion for the Children’s Inn, now known as the Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety, having personally known someone that has had a past abusive relationship and has also worked at the Inn. This passion added to her wanting to do a project that would benefit them.

Amy’s late sister Beth originally got her started in donating to the shelter with clothes and personal items, something they continued for years. Amy asked her other sister, Margaret Larsen, to join her in making pillowcases for the children out of all the donated material from Delphi. The two have done many service projects together from food give aways, to sponsoring an open class event at 4-H Achievement Days, to decorating tables for fundraising events, to building community gardens in both Lennox and Tea and also serving on local community foundations.

Both Amy and Margaret spent numerous days washing the material, ironing and sewing the pillowcases.

“The families that need to use the Children’s Home Shelter usually just come with the clothes on their back and have nothing else, leaving everything behind,” said Amy. “They depend on our donations to help make things happen for them.”

While staying there every child gets a pillowcase to call their very own.

Each pillowcase has handles sewn into the inside so it can double as a suitcase to put their own belongings in when they transition to move to a new place to live.

So far the two sisters have completed 137 pillowcases.

“We have done this same project together before but on a much smaller scale. Each pillowcase takes one yard of material and around an hour of time start to finish,” said Amy.

Each pillowcase is made of two different colors. The body is one color and a coordinating color is used for the cuff.

“We had to really put our minds together to color coordinate material to get the most out of what we have for material to choose from,” said Amy.

Amy said there is plenty more to be sewn, approximately another 50, but they ran out of color combinations. Amy and Margaret applied for a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to purchase enough material to complete the rest of what set out to be their mission.

Amy said when they tell the story about what they are working on, others who sew have donated extra supplies and some of their material to help them out.

“We are very thankful for that,” said Amy. “Hopefully this will last the Inn for quite awhile.”

When you are a person with a giving nature you can find a way to make sure you can still give even though you can’t do it yourself — that is just what Delphi, Amy and Margaret have done by working together.

After all the pillowcases are completed they will be given to Living Hope Church in Tea where they will iron a label with a saying inside and then deliver the items to the shelter.

Ironically, Joel and Delphi Klusmann were on a committee called a planting team and were a large part of getting the Living Hope Church up and running.

“We had no idea when we started this project that this was the church that you give the pillowcases to when completed and the story that connected us all together,” said Amy. “As we all live our day to day lives we loose sight of what volunteering is really about. Its about doing for others, for other peoples benefit. Its not about us getting something in return for our own benefit or trying to get recognition for doing something or needing to get paid for doing it. It’s about giving freely, to and for others peoples benefit, that is what volunteering is really about.”

The season of giving may be coming to an end, but Delphi, Amy, and Margaret’s efforts remind us that we can give back all year round.


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