By Vanessa Kahin
Joni Anthony stitched together her latest charitable effort through cyberspace.
When the Clovis resident sought to learn how to use an embroidery machine she’d bought for herself, she found the lessons she needed on YouTube. When she wanted even more information, she joined online groups Stitches of Love and Futura Embroidery.
Anthony, who is no stranger to charitable efforts, having made wooden toys for children and led a group of young Christmas carolers, thought to make personalized towels for children at the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home and the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home.
She couldn’t make all 27 towels herself, so Anthony turned to her online pals for help. In a week she had the volunteers she needed. Helpers hail from across the U.S., Anthony said; one is as far away from England.
And when two members of these groups asked how to make the towels, Anthony taught them, through the Internet.
“Isn’t technology wonderful?” Anthony said. In an effort to not leave any child without a personalized towel, Anthony kept in contact with both children’s homes to inquire of any newcomers. Eventually, she needed more than 50 towels, a number that the online helpers accommodated.
“They all started to get excited about being involved,” Anthony said of the volunteers. Although she initially did not want to ask for help, Anthony was pleasantly surprised in the interest the project generated. Every one of the volunteers expressed gratitude for being made part of the project, Anthony said.
“Thank you for involving me in this,” was one comment Anthony received. “This is such a wonderful cause,” said another.
Each towel involves a regular bath towel, an attached hand towel that makes a hood, and a wash cloth that can be shaped into part of the towel’s unique design, such as ears for a dog’s face.
Set in different colors, towel designs are meant to resemble dogs, frogs, princesses or rabbits, to name a few examples. Each towel has the recipient’s name embroidered on it.
Towels were delivered at the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home and at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home this past week.
Anthony said she got a thrill out of seeing children get their towels. A little boy at the New Mexico Children’s Home stood out to her.
After all the other children had gotten their towel, this boy sat, quietly and empty-handed, on the floor.
Anthony assured the little boy that he, too, got a towel. She knew it must have still been in her vehicle. She went outside to get the boy’s gift — a white towel with a bulldog face.
“He said, ‘Oh, that’s cool. I like dogs,’” Anthony said. “He was putting (the towel) on as he went back to the building, skipping.”
Diane Cox, director of sponsor relations at the New Mexico Christian Children’s Home, said the program serves an average of 100 children a year. The home provides a variety of services, including group foster care, a home for the homeless, help for low or no income parents or parents with disabilities, and adoption services.
“When (Anthony) called … I was very excited,” Cox said. “Some of the children here have never had anything of their own.”
Cox said Anthony’s generosity is an example of how members of the community can discover and use their talents to serve others.
“Everyone has a part in making this world a better place,” she said.