CHICAGO (CBS) — An Aurora mother is trying to breath new life into what seems to be a dying hobby.

Lucy Blasi has taken eight girls under her wing, spending hours with each in front of a sewing machine.

“I taught them how to use the machine, I taught them all the components of the machine — we’ve done patterns, we’ve done projects off the Internet,” she said.

These young seamstresses use their new skills to make toiletry bags for the homeless, comfort bags for chemotherapy patients and holiday pillow cases for children hospitalized at Christmas.

“We have to give back,” Blasi said. “I mean, what if we’re ever in that situation where we need help? Somebody is out there to help us — I believe that.”

This weekend, Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s first and largest women-led life insurers, presented Blasi with a $5,000 grant to keep up the good work. She hopes the girls have learned more than just sewing skills.

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