Event supports local crafters who lost memories from flood

P2 copy copyFor those impacted by the June floods in Alberta this past summer, the damages suffered included not only monetary losses, but also a lifetime's worth of memories.

To High River resident, Martha Schroeder-Klassen, the flood meant the irreparable damage of some her most prized possessions—her scrapbooks. An avid collector and scrap-booker, Schroeder-Klassen lost nearly everything dear to her after the river flooded her basement.

"We had a basement full of antiques that I've been collecting since as far back as I can remember, and everything Christmas was down there. All my crafting and scrapbooking things were down there too," Klassen said. "Stupidly, we all keep our mementos boxed up in the basement, which doesn't make sense anymore."

Schroeder-Klassen has two young sons who both have Asperger's syndrome, and it's taken the family a long time to adjust to living on one floor.

"I have a lot of stress in my life because of my sons, so when I have time to just be Martha and have some 'me' time... well, that's what my crafting means to me," Schroeder-Klassen said, her voice filled with emotion. "To throw it all away is like throwing a piece of myself away."

This led her to realizing the need for a healing crafting event for other women in her community, for creating a space where people can reconnect with others, offer and receive support and to simply enjoy their passions. Thus, she started to plan the event called A Healing Crop for High River that ran Nov. 22 and 23.

When Kathy Stone heard about the event, she said knew she needed to help in any way she could. Being a digital scrap-booker herself, Stone tried to save people's photos and memories.

"To me, the loss of those memories was the hugest tragedy of all because they're not stuff," she said. "They're irreplaceable; you can't get those back if they're lost."P4A digital scrap-booker, Kathy Stone wanted to help others out after the floods, to help preserve their memories. She, along with others, volunteered their time to take photographs of old pictures and to try their best to restore damaged scrapbooks and photo albums.

Photo by Lauren Gilbert

Although Stone volunteers regularly, she said this experience has been the most moving.

"I've been struck by how much it's meant to the people who've attended," she said. "I mean, all I've done is collect things, drop them off and scrapbook with everyone. But the response from everyone, the generosity of those who've donated supplies and the way you can tell that this has helped these ladies so much... it's really touching."

One of these ladies who attended on Saturday was Anna Miller. Although she was one of the lucky ones in High River who was left unscathed by the floods, she came to support her friends who did lose everything.

"When my friends and I came yesterday, they were all brought to tears over the amount of supplies that was donated," Miller said. "It's overwhelming thinking about my friends who lost it all. And for myself, who didn't lose anything at all, it's amazing to see how generous everyone is. I'm grateful people haven't forgotten about High River."

Klassen said that at the end of the day, this was her way to help her community out.

"A little bit of chit chat and crafts restores the soul."

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