Event helps provide clothing for kids at Shriners Hospital


POSTED: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harriet Dunlap has been sewing clothing for Shriners Hospital for Children for more than 30 years, but they're not your typical garments. She alters clothing or creates items from scratch that better serve the kids at the hospital.

After surgeries, many of the children can't wear typical clothing, Dunlap explained. “;They may have a cast so we use Velcro to create openings,”; she said, for easier one-handed dressing. Most frequently requested garments are shorts that have Velcro openings down both sides.

Garments needed vary from case to case, which requires some improvisation and creativity. “;I do lots of designing,”; Dunlap said. “;We don't have patterns. We make our own.”;

Many of the children are allergic to Latex, so covers and hand grippers for crutches are also popular requests.

“;No two are the same,”; Dunlap said, because she relies on donated fabric and upholstery samples. “;We save every little scrap because we never know when it can be used. And, we always accept donations of fabric.”;





» When: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday
        » Where: Shriners Hospital for Children, lobby area
        » Admission: $7
        » Call: Joellen Webb at 455-7433


Dunlap is a member of the Daughters of the Nile, a fraternal organization of women related by birth or marriage to a Shriner, Master Mason or Daughter of the Nile. The organization donates more than $1 million annually to the Shriners Hospitals for Children for medical care, equipment and rehabilitation. Prosthetic limbs, braces and shoes, and other medical supplies are also attained through the fund.

The Daughters of the Nile will host its annual fundraiser this weekend, a tea party that includes refreshments, music, dancing and hospital tours.

“;This is the first time that the tea will be held at the hospital,”; said the organization's current queen, Sylvia Ching. Each of the 148 temples across the United States and Canada has a presiding queen. One supreme queen is elected to govern over the rest. Ching is the reigning queen of the local Egyptian Temple No. 33.

It takes four years before you can step into that role, and it comes with much responsibility, Ching explained. “;We only have one local temple that supports the hospital here.”;

The group also schedules other extracurricular activities on a regular basis. “;We hold birthday parties once a month and play games with the kids,”; said Ching. “;Whenever they need us, we are here.”;

Members across the nation contribute more than 150,000 volunteer hours to the hospitals.

“;We have lots of activities, like decorating stockings for the children,”; added Joellen Webb, a past queen. “;It's all about helping the children,”; she added.

Kids at the hospital often stay for long periods of treatment and recovery, and many do not speak English and are separated from their parents, family and culture, Ching said. “;The hospital staff becomes their family. ... We try to make them feel welcome.”;

“;It's all about helping the children,”; Webb added.

For monetary donations or donations of fabric, call Webb at 455-7433.

On the Net:
» For more information on Daughters of the Nile, visit www.daughtersofthenile.com or donfdn.org.