Students at an Abbotsford school have partnered with a volunteer sewing group for a project with an environmental message for Earth Day (April 22).
The 200 Grade 6 students at W. A. Fraser middle school are making art from magazines with an Earth Day message that will accompany reusable fabric shopping bags and laundry bags made and donated by Fabric Bag Solution.
The bags will be given to food banks, health-care workers, firefighters and other front-line workers across the Lower Mainland.
In return, each student will also receive a fabric shopping bag for their family to use. They are also being asked to trade in a plastic grocery bag, which will be taken to the recycling depot.
Teacher Carrie Roger has teamed up with her mom, Pam, an Abbotsford retired home economics teacher, for the project.
Unable to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pam has been keeping busy sewing and heading up the Abbotsford Fabric Bag Solution sewing group.
“We have a keen group of sewers in our Abbotsford group and have produced hundreds of reusable fabric bags,” Pam said.
The group relies on donations of fabric, textile discards, gently used clothing, sewing supplies and even sewing machines to make their fabric bags.
“People prefer our fabric bags over mass-produced plastic and polypropylene bags, often covered in advertising and corporate logos, that often rip, cut into your hand, leak and then end up in the landfill for hundreds of years,” says volunteer Julie Silgailis.
Fabric Bag Solution was started in 2019 by Lower Mainland resident Joanne Morneau following a vacation where she became disheartened after snorkelling in the ocean.
She found bleached coral, few if any tropical fish and remote beaches strewn with plastic bags and plastic debris.
Morneau created an easy-to-follow pattern and started sewing bags by herself, with two neighbours donating fabric and thread.
The group now has a large network of volunteers who connect through hubs in Abbotsford, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.
In 2020, the group made and donated 1,500 bags to B.C. food banks, including 45 in Abbotsford.
The bags are also available for purchase by donation, with funds used to buy sewing supplies and pay for scissor sharpening and machine maintenance. Contact email@example.com for more information.