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Seeking Hands And Hearts For Sew-A-Thon

Keep Me In Stiches
An example of a crate quilt made for pets at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

Three Tampa Bay stores are looking for volunteers this week to help make crate quilts and bandanas for homeless dogs and cats and you don’t have to know how to sew to help.

“We can teach them,” said Melissa Dawn Helms, owner of the Keep Me In Stitches stores in Largo and Tampa that are hosting the Sew-A-Thon. “We can use help cutting and ironing and sorting. There are just so many things it does kind of take a village to pull this off.”

This is the second year Helms has hosted the event. Last year, her customers and volunteers sewed hundreds of blankets and bandanas for the animals at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

“Winter is coming and it’s always nice for the dogs and cats to have kind of a cushy, warm blanket to help keep them warm when it gets cool outside,” Helms said. “And then, the bandanas are more for the dogs. But they just make dogs more adoptable makes them look a little cuter, a little friendlier, a little more like you’d want to take one home.”

Helms knows because she has two adopted dogs.

All the materials are provided, just volunteer sewers are needed. In addition to sewing, Keep Me In Stitches will provide lunch and have Humane Society volunteers on site with dogs and cats in need of a home.

And at the Largo store, the Bernina sewing machine manufacturer will unveil its special edition, “Best Friend” sewing machine – at the Sew-A-Thon on Thursday.

“The machine isn’t set to launch until January. But we pulled a few strings and we have the machines that will be on display,” said Amy Gutierrez, director of marketing for Bernina. “And we’re also going to be sewing kennel quilts and bandanas as well as hopefully getting a few pets adopted that day.”

The Sew-A-Thon runs Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Largo store, 10459 Ulmerton Road, and two Tampa stores, 4504 West Kennedy Blvd., and 14833 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL.

Helms asks volunteers to email her at mail@kmisinc.com and specify the location, day and time they’re coming. And you can bring pet supplies for the shelter – items like dog or cat food, treats and toys.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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