The sewing group is looking for volunteers who are interested in sewing for a cause. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

The sewing group is looking for volunteers who are interested in sewing for a cause. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Gateway of Hope received 100 bags as donation from a sewing group

A local resident is an active member of the group

A Langley woman joins a group of Metro Vancouver seamstresses in donating 100 reusable bags to a local emergency shelter.

Nancy Shargool, and her Burnaby friend and founder of the group Joanne Morneau, teamed up with more than 35 women to make reusable bags made out of fabric donated by members of the public.

The donation will eventually reach those who benefit from services of Langley’s Gateway of Hope and those who require material assistance. The non-profit will hand out the bags along with the food hampers they give for free to the community. And, some of the bags will be shared with shelter volunteers, too.

“What a wonderful donation it was from them,” said Andrea Voss, Gateway of Hope’s family services coordinator. “They are cute and adorable.”

It takes volunteers more than an hour to make one bag, but it is a “labour of love,” said the founder of Fabric Bag Solution.

The material used for sewing included repurposed fabric gleaned from discarded jeans, bedding, drapes, and upholstery material.

“It is important to do our part in the fight against climate change and the problem of textile waste,” Shargool said, emphasizing the importance of recycling.

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The waste that Shargool is referring to has become a global textile pollution problem involving used clothing from Western countries getting dumped in developing countries, making them a textile dumping ground.

Experts have found that around 15 million clothing items from the Western world reach Ghana’s Kamanto market every week. The source has been identified as donations made to charity in the mistaken belief that all of the items will reach local communities and thrift stores.

Items that go unsold at thrift stores end up in Ghana and other developing countries.

Morneau got the idea to form a club in Metro Vancouver after seeing a pile of plastic rubbish on the shoreline of one of the beaches where she was vacationing.

“I was so mad to see this incredible mess in the ocean,” said Morneau, sharing her frustration. She then turned her agitation into action and decided to gather volunteers to sew for what she calls a “greener tomorrow.”

With a desire to leave the planet in better condition for her grandkids and generations to come, Morneau embarked on this journey. Gradually, people started noticing her efforts and her group got bigger.

“Some donated money, some offered threads, and some gave their time,” Morneau said. “It is a collective effort.”

She believes that during COVID, her group was able to offer people “something to get engaged in” while they stayed at home.

READ MORE: B.C. can no longer wait to fight climate change after fires, floods, slides: minister

Later, when she realized that the issue is not only impacting beaches but global economies and climate, too, she decided to include the problem of textile dumping into the club’s vision.

Langley’s Shargool joined the two-and-a-half-year-old club in July 2021. She shared that the quality and quantity of bags produced has grown every year, and so has the demand.

The group has served multiple food banks, schools, community organizations in Metro Vancouver and is currently looking for more volunteers to join them.

The sewing group is looking for volunteers who are interested in sewing for a cause. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

The sewing group is looking for volunteers who are interested in sewing for a cause. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Those interested in joining the club, can email at fabricsolution@gmail.com

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Have a story tip? Email: tanmay.ahluwalia@langleyadvancetimes.com

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