REDDING, Calif.—A quilting and sewing group from Pathway church in Redding has made 200 face masks for Simpson University students as they prepare to return to campus in the fall.
The group, overseen by former professional quilter Becky Cable, makes quilts for North State pregnancy care centers, as well as baby clothes for a Christian & Missionary Alliance hospital in Mali, West Africa. Last year the group sent more than 475 handmade “mama packs”—which include a receiving blanket, bib, beanie, booties, and shirt—to the hospital.
Following the devastating Carr and Camp fires in Shasta and Butte counties in 2018, the group made hundreds of lap quilts for survivors.
And this spring, when retired physician and fellow church member Dr. Tom Perry (pictured) asked if they would sew face masks for Simpson University, they did not hesitate. Dr. Perry, who is a university board member, donated funds to help with materials. The supplies for all the group’s projects come from donations.
“Of course, absolutely – anything to help Simpson be able to reopen,” Becky said. “I know how much of a life-changer Simpson has been for so many people.”
Becky has firsthand knowledge of Simpson’s impact and longtime times to the C&MA, the university’s affiliated denomination. She attended Simpson when the college was located in San Francisco. Her sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and John Henderson, are graduates. John Henderson was an Alliance pastor for many years before he retired. Her sister and brother-in-law Cathy and Blaine Kazebee are Simpson alums, as well as her brother, Jim Voss, whose wife Nancy (Mason) also attended Simpson. Jim was an Alliance pastor before becoming a director of Gatehouse Ministries, an Alliance-affiliated nonprofit in Redding that serves students whose parents are missionaries. Becky’s son Chris Cable, and his wife, Cassie (Turner), graduated from the Redding campus, as did her daughter Karen Sicheneder, daughter-in-law Raina (Forbes) Cable, and a number of other relatives.
Dependent on state and county COVID-19 guidelines, Simpson University is working toward reopening in the fall for in-person instruction.
“Having a large supply of masks and other protective equipment is essential,” President Norman Hall said. “We are so thankful for the time and talents these women have given to support our efforts to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
Becky first made masks for a friend’s daughter who serves as an emergency room nurse in Southern California. She then reached out to her church family to ask who needed or wanted one. She has made masks for a hospital in Red Bluff, where a friend’s son is a physician, and for group homes and a local food bank. When her son posted on Facebook that his mother made masks, she had strangers request them.
She has made nearly 1,000 masks so far. It takes her about 15 to 20 minutes to make one.
“It gives me a purpose during this time,” Becky said. “I live alone, with my cat, and it was devastating to be isolated like this. When I started making masks, people would come to my front porch to pick them up and talk to me through the screen door. It helped my mental state. I believe it was something God provided for me during this difficult time.”
The Pathway quilting and sewing group, comprising about eight members, has been meeting for several years. Becky started a similar group at an Alliance church in Fairfield prior to moving to Redding.
“The purpose of our group is to have women come together in a setting where they can share their lives,” she said. “It’s not just another Bible study. We get to know and love each other and bear each other’s burdens.”
Becky has found her sewing ministry to be one that blesses her as well as the recipients. She’s given more than three dozen masks to postal workers, including leaving some in her mailbox for her carrier.
“He honked his horn and waved,” she said. “You don’t know what it will mean. You receive the greater blessing when you can bless others.”
The Pathway group sewed the Simpson masks at home, using kits that Becky assembled. Other mask-makers included Arlene Johnson, Lois Nichols, Judy Hatton, and Kathy Ulrich. They are now working on masks for five area schools that Pathway church connects with in their after-school programs.
“Our group is about encouraging others and lifting them up to come closer to God,” Becky said. “It’s that kind of thing I’m passionate about.”
She cites Colossians 3:23 and Hebrews 10:24 as two verses that have guided her: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,” and “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.