Live Green: Jessie’s Bags

DOVER,DE- One local family turned a cancer diagnosis into a business with the goals of putting smiles on other’s faces and only using recycled or donated materials. Take a look at this week’s Live Green with Jessie’s Bags.

Joanne Downer and her mother, Jessie, started sewing together when Jessie underwent surgery to treat her cancer back in 2006. Within the first couple of weeks, they stitched together over a hundred patchwork totes. They knew that since this activity put smiles on their faces, it would do the same to others, so they founded Jessie’s Bags.
“If we give you this bag, we hopes it helps you be joyful for even in one moment and that it would help you in your recovery process,” said Joanne Downer.
Because of the surplus of bags, they donated them to cancer patients in hospitals throughout Delaware and filled them with inspirational messages to uplift them during this difficult time in their lives. While they were uplifting others, they were upcycling fabrics that were donated to them to keep their carbon footprint low and cost down.
 “I love the fact that it doesn’t go into a landfill. I love that we are repurposing something that was trash quote on quote,” stated Downer.
Since Jessie’s Bags are limited to donated fabrics, all of their bags are unique. A few of the materials they have used are jeans, curtains and even leftover surgical equipment wrap from a local hospital.
“This fabric came in, they unwrapped the surgical equipment, which went into the operating room. Then, this fabric was now trash. They asked if I could do anything with it, so we took it and used it as a lining in the bag,” explained Downer.
After Jessie’s passing two years ago, Joanne continues her legacy by upcycling fabrics scraps into bags for cancer patients. She’s even partnered with schools, nursing homes and volunteer groups to help make more bags. In her efforts to put a smile on cancer patients and their families, Joanne is keeping Delaware green one stitch at a time.
Joanne says that they have more than enough fabric right now. But, she could use help from others to help create the bags. If you want to get involved or find more information, please visit jessies bags dot com.
Categories: Good Morning Delmarva, Live Green