4imprint, LLC

Posted: March 06, 2023 3 min read

one by one®: Stitch It Forward

Your comfiest blanket, coziest pair of socks or most-loved pillow can bring feelings of peace and relief after a long or difficult day. For individuals in need or those who are experiencing tough circumstances, handmade items donated with love can be especially soothing.

That sense of comfort is exactly what founders Cora Walkey and her mother, Diane Herrick, want to provide. Together, they founded Stitch It Forward after Walkey’s father suffered a heart attack and underwent double-bypass surgery. Afterwards, Walkey’s father was given a heart-shaped pillow to clutch when movement became painful. This piqued Walkey’s curiosity.

“We’re both very crafty people,” Walkey explained. “I’ve been sewing since I was three. When they gave us this handmade heart, we asked who made them. Then we started making them and donating them to the hospital.” Woman sitting on sofa holding up branded duffel bag.

The pair posted on social media asking for volunteers to help make additional pillows. Before long, they were approached by an organization that needed handmade bags. Walkey and her mother recruited volunteers to help with that project too, and soon her group had grown to hundreds of volunteers helping multiple organizations by creating masks, bags, headbands, slippers and other sewn, knit or crocheted items.

How promotional gifts for volunteers show gratitude to crafters

Today, Stitch It Forward has nearly 200 volunteers helping with a variety of projects.

“We have several projects going at all times. Sometimes we do one big push, and then other projects that are always ongoing,” Walkey said.

Sometimes Walkey or her family members are able to see the items in use around the community. About a year ago, Stitch It Forward’s volunteers crafted enough handmade slippers to fill 10 large garbage bags for the Ronald McDonald House.

“Six or seven months later, my cousin was there and saw a basket of our slippers set out. She sent me a picture and I almost cried,” Walkey said.

The group looks forward to its two-day retreat in May when volunteers will meet to work on four large projects together. Each will receive an overnight duffel bag featuring the organization’s logo as a promotional gift for volunteers to thank them for their participation.

Overall, Walkey is very excited about the group and its growth over the past four years.

“This started out of a stressful time, but it gives us an outlet for our creativity, and we’re also benefitting the groups in need that come to us,” Walkey explained. “Plus, 90% of our volunteers are retired, possibly isolated the past couple years, and this gives a purpose and meaningful opportunities to give to others.”

A note from Cheryl

It’s amazing to see Stitch It Forward helping to comfort people dealing with tough circumstances by providing them with handmade items. 4imprint is pleased to play a small role in Stitch It Forward’s mission by providing promotional gifts for volunteers. To learn more about a 4imprint one by one® grant, visit onebyone.4imprint.ca.