FORT MILL --
Thomas Welch, a seventh-grader at Banks Trail Middle School, had never before sewed a stitch. But that didnt stop him from spending his free time in the home arts classroom, diligently sewing orange ribbon trim onto a Christmas stocking made from a pair of gently used blue jeans.
Welch and his classmates from Marcia Havners two seventh-grade home arts classes sewed Christmas stockings and pillows to donate to families in need. They also collected candy and small gifts to stuff in the stockings.
The stockings, pillows and gifts were donated to the Fort Mill Care Center and Pilgrims Inn last week.
I feel pretty good that I helped out, Welch said.
Making the pillows is an annual project for Havners class, but the stockings were a new idea, Havner said, created from jeans and other clothing she found on sale at Goodwill for 50 cents per item.
I couldnt buy the fabric for 50 cents, she said.
She bought clothing that was in good condition and made from fabric that she thought would make fun and interesting stockings. The students cut and sewed the stockings and pillows.
The inspiration to make the stockings also led her to think further. Recycling the pants into fabric for stockings got Havner thinking about all of the blue jeans in great condition that could be used again. She encouraged students to bring in jeans that were in new or like-new condition. Havner sorted them by size and also donated them to the Care Center and Pilgrims Inn.
In total, Havners two classes collected 240 pairs of jeans, 40 pillows and nearly 30 stuffed stockings.
Some students raised money to help stuff the stockings with treats. One of Havners eighth-grade classes had a bake sale and donated $100 from the proceeds to the project. Caroline Bowen and Allie Harr asked friends and neighbors for donations to help purchase gifts and candy to stuff in the stockings. Together, the girls raised more than $50.
It was hard at first, Bowen said.
But it got easier as the pair realized how generous people were.
There were a lot of giving people, Harr said. We got $20 from one person.
Quinn Hubbarth helped sew stockings.
It was a team effort, from pinning them to putting them together, he said.
But the best part?
Knowing youll help a good cause.