Milestone ‘sew’ special

Amazing Grace Pillowcases donates its 10,000th pillowcase

SPECIAL OCCASION — A recent donation of pillowcases to the pediatric department at Trinity West by representatives of Amazing Grace Pillowcases Inc. ministry included the 10,000th pillowcase made in the ministry’s four-year history. On hand for the special occasion were, around the cart, from left, Tara Keenan; Alyssa Houk; and Janie Donahue, head of the pediatric floor; and back, sewing angel Tina Iarossi, holding sign; sewing angel Sue Smith; sewing angel Mary May; Ashley Virtue, Devon Kelly, Shannan Schramm and Ericka Crosier, pediatrics floor employees; LeAnn Leas, sewing angel; Mary Albaugh, founder of Amazing Grace Pillowcases Inc.; and Sandy Weiher, sewing angel. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc., a ministry outreach founded by Mary J. Albaugh four years ago to brighten the lives of hospitalized children one colorful and cheerful pillowcase at a time, has reached a milestone.

Members of the Amazing Grace Pillowcase ministry visited Trinity’s Health System West’s pediatric department on Oct. 26 to deliver an assortment of handmade pillowcases for patients — a gift that included the 10,000th pillowcase the group has made.

“I have to say I never thought we would reach 10,000 in four years,” Albaugh told the Herald-Star after the delivery had been made. “Honestly, someone asked me when I started this in 2013 how long do I want to keep doing it, and I said, ‘I would like to touch 10,000 people’s lives, and that wound probably take about 10 years.’ Was I ever mistaken — why? Because when women bond, amazing things happen,” said Albaugh, a resident of Bloomingdale.

The pillowcase ministry launched in April 30, 2013, counts on “donated fabric and volunteers to sew bright, colorful pillowcases for sick children in and out of hospital settings and the homeless and the sadly forgotten, lonely nursing home residents. We are on a mission to brighten their room and bring them a ‘little sunshine’ one pillowcase at a time,'” the explanation reads on the Facebook page.

“We were only able to reach our 10,000 milestone by the generous donations of fabric, time and talents of our sewing angels near and far,” Albaugh explained. “A few businesses have reached out to us in understanding that it is not just a pillowcase — it is an act of love and a symbol of hope,” she added.

“We were honored to pick Trinity West Pediatrics as our 10,000th pillowcase recipient,” Albaugh continued. “This is our roots, and I don’t ever want to forget about our humble beginnings. We deliver to many hospitals all over Pittsburgh and many other facilities, but the nurses at Trinity always tell me the how the children love their pillowcases, and every delivery that we have made there it seems as though the nurses love them just as much,” she said. “They tell me they get to see first-hand the beautiful smiles. We have delivered to Trinity Pediatrics for four years now and are working hard at getting their Christmas pillowcases ready.”

Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3) organization to which all donations are tax-deductible, has been busy with many events, including representing Jefferson County at the Straight From the Heart event in Sugarcreek, Ohio, on Oct. 17, an event sponsored by the Jefferson, Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau.

“We were honored to talk and inspire many women at this event,” Albaugh said, noting the group of volunteers has been growing, “and women from many countries are joining our amazing group. You do not have to sew. There is plenty to do,” she said.

“We have helped the evacuees of Harvey by providing the children and adults with a bright pillowcase in the homeless shelters, and many quilters sent beautiful quilts, and we provided the pillowcases,” Albaugh said.

The group was gifted an embroidery machine from a sewing machine manufacturer, enabling volunteers to embroider the branch of service on patriotic pillowcases made for veterans under the care of Valley Hospice and Charity Hospice.

“We have been asked to be ambassadors for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, which is an honor and is nationwide,” Albaugh said, referring to the American Patchwork & Quilting challenge to quilters, sewers and crafters to help it reach a goal of donating 1 million pillowcases to local charities.

“We are always in need of funds to cover our costs of making, washing and delivering the pillowcases,” Albaugh said. “Your donation is tax-deductible, and a receipt is promptly mailed out for your convenience. We have gone through 10,000 yards of fabric in four years. That’s a lot of fabric,” she added.

Albaugh said the group is forging ahead, reaching out to Girl Scout troops and 4-H groups, for example, so “we can pass along our talents to the next generation.”

Amazing Grace Pillowcase will be hold its next sew-in on Nov. 16. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 103 of the Pugliese Training Center, Eastern Gateway Community College, Steubenville. It is open to anyone interested and is always looking for new members.

The group also will have a presence at the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market with Sunshine the “sewing angel” Nutcracker at Historic Fort Steuben.

For information, call (740) 944-1105; e-mail at; or visit the Facebook page at Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc.

Albaugh said Amazing Grace Pillowcases meets every month, either at Two Ridges Presbyterian Church or at Eastern Gateway Community College’s training center. She said the ministry seeks help in the form of fabric or donations to buy it, JoAnn Fabric gift cards and volunteers.

Anyone interested in being a part of the ministry can contact her by phone at (740) 944-1105; by e-mail at; or by sending a message via the Facebook page.