Cleveland Sews' Community Sew-A-Thon

Cleveland Sews first piloted the idea for social manufacturing with a Community Sew-A-Thon in 2018. The event partnered with Burten, Bell, Carr's community radio station, WOVU, and brought together community members to make winter hats and scarves for underserved youth in the Kinsman neighborhood of Cleveland. Annually, similar events took place as blanket drives, where fleece blankets were made and distributed to low-income seniors, un-housed individuals, and newly settled refugees. In May of 2024, Cleveland Sews will host their largest Sew-A-Thon event in partnership with St. Vincent Charity Community Health Center. Taking drapery that once hung in the hospital, Cleveland Sews will bring together community members to cut and sew reusable tote bags at scale for St. Vincent's Mission Kitchen and Pantry program. This endeavor is led by a participatory community leadership committee of the new Stitching Committee, which represents a diverse sector of the community.
Long term, through the partnership with St. Vincent Charity, Cleveland Sews is able to align mission interest to share and increase joint capacity and create a re-manufacturing hub in the now vacant hospital that serves residents of the central neighborhood and participants of St. Vincent Charity's programs. Central to this project is the effort to disrupt traditional ways of manufacturing and consumeristic thinking by creating a culture around repair, mending, upcycling and redistribution. This sustainable model for a new artistic and creative manufacturing, diverts waste that would otherwise be headed to the landfill and creates more equity and accessibility to resources and education, while addressing sustainability goals of the city and county. The Sew-A-Thon will be the launch of this catalytic project by upcycling material that has such a significant historical connection to the community. The most beautiful part is community will come together to transform it and give it back to the community.

Funded by Cleveland, OH (March 2024)