Monday, April 09, 2007

Guest Blogger: Sue Inwood

Sue Inwood, a former student of mine, stopped by my office bearing gifts last week. I was surprised and completely astounded: Her mother created eight cloth bags to support BagFest. I was (and still am) very touched by this random act of kindness.

I wanted to know more about this incredible woman. And so, Sue told me more about her mother. Anyway, I didn't want to keep this story to myself, so I asked Sue to share her story with you.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the story as much as I do. And if you're interested in becoming a proud owner of one of these bags, please let me know. I'm still accepting tax-deductible donations to financially support this project! :0) M

Sue writes:

The term Bag Lady once referred to the poor homeless woman seen on the street who carried all her worldly possessions in one or more bags. Today, that term can be applied in another, much less negative light.

A local organization called “Busy Hands,” which is associated with Catholic Charities, provides volunteers an opportunity to put their sewing, knitting, and quilting skills to work, for a variety of good causes. In order to support IUSB’s Bag Fest, one volunteer has graciously donated eight handmade shopping bags to the cause….but her story goes further.

Now 75, Suzanne Bella has been sewing and quilting for many years. She never duplicates the same creation, so everything sewn is truly one-of-a-kind. She has donated quilts to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis to be given to sick kids. She has appeared in the maternity wards of local hospitals at Christmas anonymously donating baby quilts to new mothers, saying only that it was a gift from “Mrs. Claus.” She has sewn countless numbers of bags to be given to discharged hospital patients so that they have something bright and colorful to take home their belongings in after their stay. She is now embarking on making bags that have little slots for crayons on the outside and include a new coloring book on the inside for little hospital patients or other needy kids.

Suzanne asks for no payment, and no credit for herself, although she has been honored in the recent past by Memorial Hospital for her work. All she requires is a few scraps of material, which she often receives through donations to Busy Hands to make bags. Her payment is the smiles and gratitude of those who receive them.

The “Bag Lady” has evolved!

Sue Inwood
Student, IU South Bend


Michelle Verges, Project Director said...


Quick update: I just called Mrs. Bella to personally thank her for making those cloth bags for us.

And we had a great conversation! She's really an inspiring person.

In particular, I want to share more information about Busy Hands:

Each year, Busy Hands hosts a one-day event called "Warm Up," which gives away a number of goods to people in need.

Here's a short list of the goods that are given away:

* Afghans

* Slippers

* Mittens

* Handmade dolls and teddy bears

* Hats & mittens for pre-mature infants

In short, I think this is a tremendous program that deserves our support.

I've already told Mrs. Bella that I would be there in October to help with this effort. Mrs. Bella also said that she welcomes more volunteers, too. :0)

Here's the contact information:

1817 Miami St.
South Bend, IN 46613
(574) 234-3111

I'll mark this event in our blog calendar!

:0) M

Nancy W said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you, Dr. Verges and Susan for sharing it with us. Susan, you must be so proud of your mother. I love to hear the different ways, of which there are many, that people give back to others. Your mother is a very compassionate and caring woman.
May the Energy of life be with you and your family.
- nw

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