For the last two years, the two women have made the
custom-designed sheets to go on top of children's napping cots, and
Moriearty herself has manufactured approximately 200 of them.
Their donation to the child care is a part of an outreach ministry
of St. John United Church of Christ.
Reifsteck said it began two years ago when she was making a
donation of craft supplies to the child care center. While there,
she asked Moore if there was something special the church could do
to help support the work of the child care. Moore immediately
thought of a need and asked if there was anyone who would be able to
do some repair and mending to the day care's cot sheets.
Reifsteck said she could do the repair work and took with her
that day six or eight sheets that needed to be fixed. When she
returned them later, she found that Moore was working on trying to
make new sheets for the cots, using large bed sheets.
"She happened to have some large sheets, along with two or three
very thin 'sad' cot sheets I could use as a pattern," Reifsteck
So Reifsteck took the sheets and some elastic the day care
provided to her and turned them into the little sheets the day care
As Reifsteck worked on the project, she realized the need at the
day care was more than she alone could handle, so she called on the
outreach ministry of the church, seeking helpers.
Moriearty was the one who responded and soon began whipping out
new sheets for the day care.
Reifsteck laughed, saying, "I would talk to her and she'd tell me
she'd done 30 or 40 sheets, and I had done, maybe 10!"
In the two years they've been working on the sheets for the child
care, Moriearty said she's earned a new nickname: "They just call me
the sheet lady!"
Moriearty says it is really something she likes to do. She's
technically been retired for the past several years, but she enjoys
staying busy and also helping others at the same time.
To produce the sheets, Moriearty uses secondhand sheets that are
clean and in good condition. She said many of what she and Reifsteck
use are donated to the project by other church members, plus she
shops around at the local thrift stores and picks up good used
In addition, she experiments with using other products such as
curtains. She said if the material is the right kind, they make very
nice sheets for the children.
Moore noted one of the things the kids enjoy about the sheets is
that they come in a variety of colors, and some of the kids have
In some ways, the sheets are like a security blanket for some of
the small ones, Moore explained.
"It's funny to watch them. They will curl up with them, pull them
up close to them, and we even have a few who like to crawl in
between the sheet and the cot. They look like little turtles
sticking out of their shells," she said.
Moriearty says she started sewing at the age of 7 and loved it.
She remembers that dry goods such as flour came in cloth sacks.
"My mother would give me the sacks because if I ruined them,
nothing was lost," she said. "I remember when I was little I enjoyed
making my own dress designs and sewing my own clothes."
Moriearty said she still enjoys the sewing, and she also shares
that her sewing machine is one from the 1950s.
"That machine has seen a lot of sewing," she laughed.
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For Moore, the value of the sheets is more than just money,
though the money part is still important. She shared that if she had
to buy the 200 sheets she now has on hand for her kids, it would
have cost her nearly $2,000.
"We all know, the day care has struggled in the past, and it is
gifts like this that help us out so very much," Moore said.
In addition Moore said directly to Moriearty when they were
together Wednesday: "When people like you take a moment out to give
to us, it is such a blessing."
Moriearty responded that it is a blessing in both directions,
because it is good for her to know she is doing something to help a
very worthwhile program.
In addition to making new sheets, Moriearty and Reifsteck also
continue to make repairs to the existing ones. On Wednesday
afternoon, Moriearty delivered a large stack of new sheets, plus a
bag full of mended ones. And, Moore had a stack in need of repair
for her to take along when her visit ended.
Moore said there are currently 73 children enrolled in the day
care program. For the smaller children, sheets are required to be
changed twice per week, and for the older children, once per week.
In addition she noted there are those occasional accidents, when
a fresh sheet is needed right away. Having the stockpile of over 200
makes it all the easier for the day care to provide the clean and
healthy environment the children deserve.
Christian Child Care is a National Association of Child Care
Professionals-accredited daycare with a three-star state rating. In
the state of Illinois only 400 day cares have achieved the
Also in the state of Illinois there are only four day cares that
have achieved the four-star level, but Moore has set her sights on
that fourth star and intends to sometime in the future become the
fifth day care in the state to reach that height of achievement.
Moore said she is always open to anyone who would like to
volunteer at the school or anyone who, like Reifsteck and Moriearty,
would like to offer a useful donation.
"We are always in need," she said, "and always happy to see
people want to become involved."
In addition, the outreach ministry at St. John is also open to
donations for their sheet project. Good used sheets and elastic are
the primary needs. Anyone who would like to make a donation to the
project can contact Reifsteck at 855-1645 or Moriearty at 732-8535.
[By NILA SMITH]