Photo credit: Derik Holtmann

Story originally published by The Belleville News-Democrat.

With hundreds of people in need across the state of Illinois, Belleville residents are doing their part to lessen that number by providing a piece of homemade comfort for struggling individuals.

Sewing group Fiber Arts was started by members of the St. Mark Lutheran Church in Belleville, Illinois, and meet at a local independent living facility to work on their projects. They participate in several projects and events, including quilt auctions that serve new mothers; supporting the homeless through sewing quilts, hats and scarves; and making pillows for cancer patients.

"We don't say no; we just say, 'How many?'", group member Jan Showmaker told The Belleville News-Democrat.

With six women participating in the group, each member is able to showcase their strengths with each project. Though most all of them can sew, some have expert precision in embroidery work, or fast knitting skills, and even simply a knack for dictating what needs to be done next.

"The idea is that we are worker bees," Cheryl Newsome said, a member who doesn't sew, but stores all donated material and helps out with the non-crafting needs.

The sewing group is always up for a challenge, even if it takes months for them to complete. In fact, one of the Fiber Art's hand-quilted pieces raised $500 at a recent auction in support of the town's local youth group. In addition, they have also sent tote bags to Cambodia and donated to students in schools around their area.

A love for quilting is just one part of the equation for Fiber Arts. Combined with a need to stay involved in the Belleville community and a passion to help others, the quilting group has inspired those around them to lend a helping hand for those less fortunate.

Photo credit: Derik Holtmann