I have joined the Socially Responsible Sweatshop, a group of women who do good things in a basement. Well, it's not just any basement. It's in the beautiful home of my friend Carol. There is even a fireplac, comfortable couches and chairs and about 8 or 9 sewing machines. The group consists of women from the Universalist Unitarian church and the year -round Kent Farmers' Market. The purpose of this group is to proved funds for those who use food stamps, by adding access to fresh produce and helping them to stretch their food budgets.
How they do this is so ingenious and practical and fun that the sweatshop moniker doesn't really apply in reality. They make yoga bags, pillows and meditation cushions. Kent is a big yoga town, with a number of studios,which are happy to purchase these goods. The materials are recycled from numerous sources (including the occasional dumpster). For instance, Goodwill sells silk scraps by the pound. At my first session, my job, since I can't sew these days, was to go through a big box of these beautiful scraps and lay them out flat into neat piles which then went to whoever was ironing that day. These particular scraps will be made into smooth and lovely eye pads for yoga people. I think they're filled with soothing herbs or something. Om.
A woman next to me was cutting strips from tee shirts, which were then used to stuff the meditation cushions. I reckon those are what a yoga person sits on to chant and think beautiful thoughts.The women on the sewing machines were making bright and colorful yoga bags and the cushion covers. Altogether, there were fourteen of us.
A little after noon, we went upstairs for lunch, prepared by Mara, who loves to cook, and had a terrific lunch, with real lemonade, not the frozen stuff. We sat at two tables and ate and talked. I only knew two or three of the people, but it was easy to feel at home with all of them. Some of them are rather earnest and serious about the mission, but that doesn't get in the way of the general feeling camaraderie.
We had a man show up, Brad Bolton, whom Carol had invited to come and observe the action.My family may remember Brad as the musician who played the turkey baster at my 80th birthday party. He's also one of the best guitarists in Northeast Ohio and a fine photographer. He didn't bring his guitar, but he did take a slew of photos and was very impressed.
I was also impressed, and look forward to the next meeting. Carol said maybe I can stuff some catnip mice, a little product they make to sell at the farmers' market. Sounds like a plan to me.
The picture is of the woods last week, after we'd had a few warm days.