AG Pillowcases having sew-in Saturday

SEWING STRONG — Mary J. Albaugh, founder and president of the locally based Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc., displays a pillowcase representative of ones given to veterans under the care of Charity Hospice and Valley Hospice as part of the organization’s many recipients, who also include children hospitalized. -- Janice Kiaski

WINTERSVILLE — Even though Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc. has been around almost five years now and has made and donated more than 10,000 pillowcases through an all-volunteer effort, the nonprofit organization remains an unknown to many area residents.

But founder and president Mary J. Albaugh of Bloomingdale said she continues to work to remedy that, eager to spread the word about the outreach, including in a guest speaker capacity which was the case recently as the program presenter to the Wintersville Woman’s Club.

“Spreading the word means a lot,” Albaugh told the group in explaining that Amazing Grace Pillowcase was launched on April 30, 2013, “out of a need to bring myself out of a deep depression after my dear mother’s death and my first granddaughter’s birth.

“After I sewed 350 pillowcases on my own, I loved it, and I wanted to share that with women, so I started thinking what could I do here in Jefferson County. I’m going to start a sew-in here,” she said of the idea she had and the initial event that attracted about 32 women from five or six counties.

“We believe that it’s not just a pillowcase — it’s an act of love, and it’s a symbol of hope,” Albaugh said of the effort that “truly believes that a bright, cheery pillowcase brightens the room of a hospitalized child.”

And local veterans under the care of Charity Hospice or Valley Hospice, for instance, are given a patriotic pillowcase in a gesture of gratitude for their service.

“To date we have been able to donate 10,530 pillowcases,” she told the group to a rousing round of applause.

The pillowcase ministry 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 case at a time.”

The outreach is run by an all-volunteer team of “sewing angels,” but people interested in being a part of the ministry, Albaugh said, don’t necessarily have to have sewing skills. Help is needed, for instance, with washing or cutting material or other duties, she said.

And donations such as JoAnn Fabric gifts cards and monetary donations, which are tax deductible, benefit the effort as well, she said.

Albaugh said some sewing angels are youth. “I truly believe we need to pass along our talents to the next generation. We’ve worked with Girl Scouts and 4-H,” she said, reminiscing about an all-day sew-in that she and her husband, Tom, were involved in at the mall. It involved 44 children.

A pastor from Pittsburgh who had observed the youth involvement approached Albaugh at the end, commenting “he had never in his life seen the pride in the air with those parents watching those children do something for somebody else,” she said.

“This nonprofit is not only beneficial to recipients receiving the pillowcases, but it also is beneficial to the women. I have many women who are widows who say ‘Thank you, I feel like I have a purpose again.’ It’s something for them to look forward to,” Albaugh said.

Coming up for Amazing Grace Pillowcases:

¯ A sew-in will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Two Ridge Presbyterian Church, state Route 43, Wintersville. Anyone is welcome to attend to participate or learn about the organization.

≤ A sew-in also will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 15, also at Two Ridge Presbyterian Church, state Route 43, Wintersville.

¯ The fourth-annual quilt drawing fundraiser is under way. The “Old Glory” quilt made of Northcott fabric is about 72 inches by 76 inches and can be viewed at A ticket is a $5 donation. The drawing will be held July 4, and the winner need not be present. Proceeds will go toward making pillowcases for veterans and hospitalized children.

¯ The organization is again involved in a national challenge in March called March Madness. “We can win a lot of prizes to help us make more pillowcases,” Albaugh explained.

“If people want to help, they can vote for us by following our Facebook page at and making pillowcases and getting them to us before the end of March.”

¯ A pasta dinner fundraiser will be held in May with details to be announced.

In July 2016, the ministry obtained its nonprofit 501 (c) 3 status, so all donations are tax-deductible.

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

The mailing address is Amazing Grace Pillowcase Inc., P.O. Box 133, Bloomingdale, OH 43910.