HELENA — For 68 years, volunteers have been hand-making stockings for hospitalized patients and babies born in the month of December at St. Peter’s Health.
The tradition was started by former St. Peter’s obstetrics nurse and long-time volunteer and association leader, Arlene Mathews. She started the effort from her basement in 1953, but as the years went on the number of volunteers swelled to support the cause.
Mathews passed in 2020, but dedicated volunteers have ensured the long-loved tradition continues.
“If you have to be in the hospital for any reason over the holiday, our hope is that one of these stockings brings a smile to your face,” Lead Volunteer Nan Cervenka said. “Plus, many people tell us that they still have their stocking from when they were born 30-40 years ago. It’s just really special and I am honored to be a part of it.”
For the past two years, due to the pandemic, volunteers have divvied up sewing tasks and made stockings from the comfort of their homes instead of attending the traditional, in-person sewing event hosted at the Regional Medical Center. This year, 29 volunteers and their family members sewed and decorated stockings for community members who are in the hospital over the Christmas holiday.