ST. CLOUD-- A group of sisters has donated their time and talents to children in need during the holidays for the last nine years.

The Mensinger Family Pillow Project was started in 2009 by Joyce Honer, Joan Volkers, Janice Mensinger, Rosemary Jonas, Kay Lambrecht, Anita Smoley, and their late mother, Betty Mensinger.

The family worked together to help one child whose name they took off of a giving tree. After that, they decided to try reaching more kids in need. One of the sisters volunteers at the Salvation Army and saw a golden opportunity.

Janice worked at the Salvation Army and she said there’s really a need for teenage kids so we started doing pillows for teenage girls ‘cause of course that was a lot of fun ‘cause we’re girls picking out fabric. Then Janice came home one year and said you know you got enough stuff for teenage girls it’s the boys. Out of the St. Cloud area they had 18 gifts for boys and that was it.

Each package contains a gift, a gift card, a pillow, toiletries, and a homemade pillowcase. The sisters grew up in a family of 13 and say their goal is to fulfill both a want and a need.

They aren’t really sure where the idea to make pillowcases came from, but they credit Oprah as a partial inspiration.

Oprah used to be on and she had this program on one time that as far as dust mites you should change your actual pillow every like three to six months. So we’re like okay who can afford to do that literally? You know? No one does that in all reality, and when you’re a family that doesn’t have a lot of money that is the last thing you do.

The entire family donates to the project, but only the sisters do the sewing. This year they put together 22 packages and have done as many as 29 in the past.

Mensinger Family Pillow Project 2018