Handmade with Love: A volunteer’s crafty solution

"There was a lot of stress in the team here around this issue and Doris being so willing to take up the challenge was just so encouraging."

- Elissa (Partner Ministries Coordinator)

Many kids who we see at Allowah have difficulties swallowing or digesting, which means they are unable to safely eat or drink orally. For these children, tube-feeding (called enteral feeding) allows them to receive the nutrition they need as a formula that is delivered via a tube. A bottle of formula must be held upside-down, allowing the feed to flow down the tube.

The team at Allowah faced a problem when we realised that we were no longer receiving the disposable plastic packaging that served the purpose of hanging the formula bottles during a feed.

The immediate solution was a costly alternative – single-use bottles that were unable to be cleaned. With dozens of feeds happening everyday, it was clear that this was not the answer.

"We've got a problem - and I think you may have a volunteer who could help."

Elissa, our Partner Ministries Coordinator, had only recently been in conversation with a lovely volunteer who had learnt about Allowah through her church, and was keen to offer her time to serve the needs of others.

“Doris is amazing! We’d previously spoken about her skills in textiles and fashion design and how she was keen to get more into designing adaptive clothing for kids with disabilities.” 

It was a late afternoon in July when Elissa heard about the bottle situation. “I was almost finished work for the day when a colleague came to me and said: ‘We’ve got a problem… and I think you may have a volunteer who could help.’ And when the dilemma was explained to me, I agreed that Doris would be an excellent person to ask.”

The team got in touch with Doris and before long, we were exchanging photos and drawings of bottles and dimensions. She knew exactly what we we trying to achieve and had ideas forming in her mind already. Doris and her husband came up to Allowah that very evening to collect a sample bottle so she could start trying out some designs.

After a couple of days, we received the prototypes and our nursing staff were excited to try them out. “There were a couple of things that needed tweaking but overall, everyone was so impressed at this clever design!” Elissa relayed comments back and forth between our team and Doris and within a couple of weeks we had the winning design, a pattern with clear instructions and the needed materials on the way. “There was a lot of stress in the team here around this issue and Doris being so willing to take up the challenge was just so encouraging.”

For Doris, diving in to help us solve a problem was more than just a helpful way to use her skills – “I wanted to make bottle hangers for Allowah because Allowah values the lives of people, whom matter, and are loved by Jesus. Loving the children, families and community of Allowah is more than serving my community to me.  It’s about generosity, and faith and our ultimate solution and Saviour – Jesus.”

These days, Allowah’s feeding poles are adorned with this nifty little creation – colourful, cheery and oh so practical.
Some of our nurses got involved and we’ve had the most delightful additions joining the supply of re-usable hangers in stock at Allowah. Doris’ church even had a sewing event and the resulting hangers mean that it will be a long time before we ever run low!
These hangers have been designed and made with love and are just another example of how amazing the Allowah community is!
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