By LINDA M. LINONIS
Baby sea bags sewn by participants in classes at Central Christian Church mimick a duffel bag used by military personnel — but these are oh so much cuter.
The bags, when used by sailors, are sometimes called sea bags. The baby sea bags are useful totes for items such as diapers, bottles and toys. They’re made in an array of fabrics and colors.
Susan Stoddart, director of Christian education at the church, said the bags are earmarked for the USO of Northern Ohio. The United Service Organization, on its website, notes that it is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services. The comfort bags are given to military families who have recently had a baby.
Patti Augustine, a church member, is involved in the sea bag project. Class participants often take the material home to sew the bags; at the class, the church provides a sewing machine. She said the simple pattern has these pieces — bag, the pocket, bottom and drawstring.
Last year, class participants made 30 sea bags and this year have made 25 so far. Donated fabric is used for the bags, and the pieces are cut in advance. “The bags only take about 30 minutes to sew,” Augustine said. “It’s a nice project, and it’s different ... and you can be creative.”
Augustine, who has been sewing since she was a child, said the project “is a way to give back to the community. If everyone did that, we’d be in better shape.”
Along those lines, church members have made caps for premature babies at ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph Health Center and ValleyCare Northside Medical Center, cancer caps for the American Cancer Society and lap robes for nursing- home residents.
The baby sea-bag class is among the mid-week classes at Central Christian at 2051 E. Market St. They began in September and will conclude Nov. 21. Other sessions are a discussion class based on “Aspects of the Heart: The Many Paths of a Good Life” by Sister Joan Chittester; book discussion of “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die” by John Izzo; and Bible study of “The Parables of Jesus.”
Another round of classes will be from January to May. For information, call Stoddart at the church at 330-372-1676.
Stoddart said the church has offered the classes for a decade. “It’s a way to get people in the building,” she said. Class participants are members of the church and community.
A meal precedes the classes, and many community residents attend for the food and fellowship. “We have volunteers lead the classes and have some outside speakers on occasion,” Stoddart said. The classes change, but there usually is a Bible study.