Her grandmother taught her how to sew, and she was inspired to do something wonderful
When Madeline Hoffman’s grandmother taught her how to sew, the 11 year old immediately wanted to use her new skills to help others. She began by creating pillowcases and neck pillows for her local hospital, and then the memory of her great-grandmother Buddee inspired her to take her project further.
From watching her great-grandmother in her wheelchair, Madeline came up with the idea for Buddee Bags. Buddee Bags are colorful, handmade bags that can easily attach to wheelchairs and walkers. Madeline says, “These bags are important to these individuals because it allows them more freedom and independence because they can keep important items close by and don’t need to ask for help.”
Madeline made 70 bags on her own and donated them to nursing homes. As opposed to simply dropping off bags, Madeline took the time to speak with each resident and learn their favorite colors and patterns and designed a bag especially for them. She noticed that they loved the bags, but also greatly enjoyed the time she spent talking with them.
Once she saw how much people appreciated her bags, she knew she needed to make more. With a $100 grant from Start a Snowball, Madeline purchased additional materials for bag-making and passed out flyers to find new volunteers.
On the MLK Day of Service Event in Philadelphia, Madeline worked with volunteers to sew more Buddee Bags. She says, “The day was very successful. Not only did more people learn about my project, I also helped others learn how to sew, and made more bags. I was also interviewed by the local news and they have done two stories!”
As you can see from Madeline’s website, buddeebags.org, her project has continued to flourish with the help of a Start a Snowball grant. She plans to continue making Buddee Bags and also begin creating bags for children with wheelchairs and walkers who can’t use a traditional backpack.