The Arlene Matthews Sock Sew helps brighten the lives of those in the hospital over Christmas

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Dec 04, 2023

HELENA — On Monday at St. Peter’s Health, the annual Sock Sew is took place where volunteers get together and create Christmas stockings for newborn babies born during December and patients in the hospital over Christmas.

“It’s a nice tradition 70 years later to keep going,” says volunteer Jane Hays.

“And it’s a way of encouraging those of us who like to volunteer and to just do something for others, especially at Christmas,” echos volunteer, Judy Grebenc.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this event started by Arlene Matthews, a former nurse and staunch supporter of volunteer activities through the St. Peter’s Hospital Association. She began the Sock Sew back in 1953 from her basement. While Matthews passed away in 2020 her legacy lives on through what is now known as the “Arlene Matthews Sock Sew”.

The event is a great way for folks to get out and volunteer for a great cause.

“If you’re willing to work for smiles and hugs, there are endless job opportunities in our community,” says Chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Peter’s Health, Russ Bell.

Stockings made by volunteers go to every baby born in St. Peter’s during the month of December. Additionally, a stocking full of fruit, candy, and snacks goes to every patient in the hospital on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“It's just a really neat thing to do. It's a tradition. And then to be able to take care of our patients who unfortunately have to be here for the holidays. It's just nice to try to uplift their spirits, as well,” says Bennett MacIntyre, Philanthropic Program Manager for the St. Peter’s Health Foundation.

MacIntyre says that they typically have anywhere from 60 to 80 babies born in the month of December. And that last year, about 70 babies were born and gifted stockings.