SAN BERNARDINO - The ladies of the Home of Neighborly Service's Senior Quilting Class had lots to smile about on Wednesday morning.

San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters arrived at the Home of Neighborly Service with gifts from the quilters' Wish List.

Firefighters from Local 981 unloaded five new sewing machines, two new irons, a commercial vacuum cleaner, long tables and other equipment for sewing at the century-old stone building on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

Volunteer quilting instructor Viola Brooks said the donated gifts are a blessing.

"Three years ago the church was helping us by giving us money for thread and other supplies, but then the economy went down and they said they couldn't help us anymore," Brooks said.

Sewing supplies are lined up at the Home of Neighborly Service on Wednesday.
Sewing supplies are lined up at the Home of Neighborly Service on Wednesday. (Micah Escamilla/Correspondent)

The quilting class, a program with the Home of Neighborly Service, on the city's westside, was in dire need of sewing essentials when the firefighters stopped by last December.

Fire engineer Nathan Lopez said when the firefighters delivered a Christmas tree to the Home in December, they saw the need of the women and asked them for the Wish List.

Firefighters have a charity committee that collects contributions from every paycheck, Lopez said.

"With that pot of money, we pick different charitable organizations within the city to donate that money to. We have $50,000 to $60,000 in that pot each year to use for donations. The other criteria is that all of our purchases have to be from businesses within the city."

Firefighters Sheldon Osekowsky, Scott Leidner, and Bobby Sheridan helped unload the gifts.

"It's no secret," Lopez said. "These poor, service-oriented groups need the help - they're not getting the funding they need. We want them to know we are thinking about them and we love them."

The 10 women in the quilting class had shared one working sewing machine and used two others for parts as needed.

Jerry Martin, the nonprofit's board treasurer, said the donation shows how people in the community are trying to help one another.

"Right now, with the city in bankruptcy, it's nice to see everybody pulling together," Martin said.

Pam Tyler, the center's managing director, said the Home serves between 2,000 and 3,000 people every month.

In addition to the sewing and quilting classes, the Home offers English as a second language and exercise classes.

Each Wednesday, they offer free bread distribution, and every third Thursday provide a Commodity Food Distribution through the Community Action Partnership Food Bank.

The Home's Senior Nutrition program includes a hot lunch each Monday through Thursday, as well as monthly health screenings.

The center also serves as a job resource, directing people to jobs.

michel.nolan@inlandnewspapers.com

909-386-3859