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Sewing circle entrenched in community

Greenfield group gets ready to celebrate 100 years of service

GREENFIELD – Marie Tomblin says if the Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle were ever to disband, part of Greenfield’s sense of community would be lost.

“Whenever there’s a need in the community, we’re the first people they come to,” said Tomblin, secretary of the group. 

The Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle has been part of the community for almost 100 years. 

“When we come together, we come together as a community,” said Tomblin. 

The 20-member group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in Greenfield United Baptist Church’s vestry. 

The beginning

Back in February 1919, the Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle was called The Sociables. 

The group of women met at each other’s houses each week. 

“And they had this humungous basket – woven basket,” said Tomblin. “The lid came up on each side, and in that they carried all of their supplies from house to house.”

Tomblin says the women worked on various projects, including work socks, mittens and embroidery, among other things.

At the time, there was a store across from the current one in the community. Tomblin says the man who ran that store allowed the women to sell any extra socks or mittens. 

“Originally, any monies that were made were used to help with the church,” said Tomblin. 

Sometimes the church collection wasn’t enough to cover the pastor’s salary. 

“At one occasion, $3.50 was given to the church to bring the pastor’s salary up to what it was supposed to be for that month, and then (at) another point we paid 37 cents, I think it was, to buy a grate for the furnace,” explained Tomblin. “These were the kinds of things that they did with their money back in those days.”

The Sociables would also have pie socials as fundraisers. Over the years, Tomblin says those pie socials have evolved into teas. 

Each year, the Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle has three teas and sales. One is in the spring, a strawberry festival is held in July and a Christmas bazaar is held every November. 

Still helping

Much like the Sociables, the Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle also helps the church. But the circle gives money to many other groups as well. Tomblin says over many years, the sewing circle gave $18,000 toward the construction of the parsonage. She says the group was also very active in helping with donations when the new church was built. 

The group has just received an award from the Health Services Foundation in Bridgewater for being a dedicated donor. The circle has been donating funds to the foundation for 20 years, said Tomblin. 

“We also give $1,000 every year to our own fire department,” she said. 

There are many other organizations the group helps, including the Queens General Hospital, The Rose Fund, Hillsview Acres, the IWK, the Liverpool Food Bank and Liverpool’s Salvation Army. 

Book

To celebrate 100 years in the community, the Greenfield Ladies Sewing Circle will soon have a recipe book for sale.

“We have gotten recipes from present members, past members who have moved away, and those who are deceased, we’ve gone to their families and gotten recipes,” explained Tomblin. 

Sewing circle members have tried to collect recipes from as far back as they could. 

The book, ‘Greenfield Sewing Circle: 100 Years of Service,’ is expected to be out in July. 

“But I think it’s the sense of community,” said Tomblin, returning to being part of the circle. “I think any of the girls would tell you the same thing.”

This year’s strawberry supper is set to take place from 5-6:30 p.m. on July 7 at the Greenfield and District Volunteer Fire Department hall. Tomblin says people can preorder the recipe book by contacting her at 902-685-2653.

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