"We generated a big number of sleeping bags that year that were then donated," says VSM Sewing Inc. CEO Bengt Gerborg.
The primary function of the Westlake-based, multimillion dollar company is to distribute sewing machines and related software products to the market. Yet every year, VSM employees are assigned specific workdays to contribute toward philanthropic projects.
"Their sewing levels range from one to 10," says Gerborg, and everyone is assigned shifts throughout the day to help with donations.
Employee creations have included Comfort Caps, hats made especially soft for patients receiving chemotherapy, and Kidsacks, sleeping bags with pillows and teddy bears tied inside. Each year, VSM also sews Cozy Coats, fleece jackets that are donated to a local shelter.
Gerborg says giving is a team effort that requires staff participation.
"It's good for both parties," says Gerborg. "Our employees get to know the product and contribute to a cause."
VSM also donates some of its state-of-the-art equipment each year. Previous sewing machine donations have gone to the WVIZ and Providence House Holiday auctions, Laura's Home and the Karen P. Nakon Breast Care Foundation.
Gerborg's focus on company giving has helped strengthen ties between his own staff and outside organizations.
All employees, including sales representatives, accountants and support staff, look forward to shifts when they can sit directly behind the machines and assist with donation projects.
"There is a whole lot of generosity amongst sewers who really want to give," says Gerborg. How to reach: VSM Sewing Inc., (440)-808-6550 or www.vsmgroup.com