SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A few retired members of the Sioux Falls community have some time on their hands, and are putting it to good use.

The sewing club at Touchmark got its start with Christmas Tree napkins and a simple request.

“Can we make these for every resident and put it on their tray at Christmas time so they have something special, so from that began our sewing group,” Touchmark resident Helen Bierstedt said.

Helen Bierstedt and company now create everything from napkins and pillow cases to quilts and baby blankets.

“I grew up with that it’s important to share and to look out for other people, and there’s such a need in Sioux Falls,” Bierstedt said.

Touchmark has an entire apartment dedicated to sewing. The residents spent about 20 hours a week working and can make two blankets an hour.

“It’s really good for my mental health. I love the creativity part of it,” Touchmark resident Karolyn Anderson said.

Karolyn Anderson says the sewing club played an important role in her road to recovery last year after experiencing long-term COVID.

“All I ever really wanted to do was to have enough energy to be able to sew again,” Anderson said.

During her six-month bout with COVID, Anderson was cutting and sewing and making baby blankets for the VA in Sioux Falls.

“I was able to do this project in my home at my own pace and the creativity is what helped heal me,” Anderson said. “and knowing I was going to be giving them away to mothers is just pretty special,” Anderson added.

And today is delivery day… with 35 blankets and 30 burp cloths making their way to the VA.

“We rely on donations in order to be able to have our baby shower every year,” VA Sioux Falls’ Brenda Fredericks said.

Brenda Fredericks has been with the VA for almost 18 years and says the items will go to Veterans who are starting families.

“They just smile and they’re like ‘oh my goodness’. It’s unbelievable when they see all of these beautiful things that we have been able to get and to have for them,” Fredericks said.

And it wouldn’t be possible without groups like the Touchmark sewing club.

“We wouldn’t be able to do things like this and have baby showers and do special events for our Veterans,” Fredericks said.

“I love to help, as we all do, everyone who comes here says ‘oh I want to be part of that’,” Anderson said.

The VA will host its annual baby shower next Tuesday, May 2nd as a virtual event, before handing out the blankets and burp cloths during a drive-thru event on Wednesday.