Reaping What They Sew In Helena, Mont.

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Juanita Ryan (far left), Lori Westphal, Maureen Foster, Othelia Schulz, Karen Pagett, Delores Rosin, Kim Randall, Gladys Pearce. The sewing circle tries to help abused women and children start new lives. i i

Juanita Ryan (far left), Lori Westphal, Maureen Foster, Othelia Schulz, Karen Pagett, Delores Rosin, Kim Randall, Gladys Pearce. The sewing circle tries to help abused women and children start new lives. Emilie Ritter Saunders for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emilie Ritter Saunders for NPR
Juanita Ryan (far left), Lori Westphal, Maureen Foster, Othelia Schulz, Karen Pagett, Delores Rosin, Kim Randall, Gladys Pearce. The sewing circle tries to help abused women and children start new lives.

Juanita Ryan (far left), Lori Westphal, Maureen Foster, Othelia Schulz, Karen Pagett, Delores Rosin, Kim Randall, Gladys Pearce. The sewing circle tries to help abused women and children start new lives.

Emilie Ritter Saunders for NPR

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Every Thursday, about a dozen women gather at a church to sew and socialize. Working together, the group — started a decade ago by Juanita Ryan — makes quilts, pillowcases, placemats, dish towels and other soft necessities.

The volunteers also pack up a few household items in hand-stitched bags and deliver them — along with the quilts — to The Friendship Center, a shelter for abused women and children. The sewing circle has a simple, substantive goal: To provide one bag and one quilt to each new woman who arrives at the center, to help her start her new life.

Emilie Ritter Saunders is a reporter for StateImpact Idaho/Boise State Public Radio.

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