Misty Carruthers and Jessica Nugent; Charmetrea Cobbs; Marlys Olson Dow

Misty Carruthers and Jessica Nugent

An employee at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Carruthers uses an innovative process to repurpose the material that wraps sterile surgery trays.

CTCA House Supervisor Nugent approached Carruthers with the idea earlier this year. Following that, Carruthers began sewing the wraps into reusable totes, mats and toothbrush holders, using every inch of the material so it won’t go to waste.

“(The wraps) are very durable products, and it’s a shame to throw them away,” she says. “Oddly enough, it’s more expensive for us to recycle them than to throw them away, which is terrible.”

In the wake of this summer’s flooding, CTCA staff involved in this project donated 80 totes, which were filled with non-perishable goods, 40 mats and 40 toothbrush holders to clients of Mental Health Association Oklahoma.

Carruthers says they hope to partner with other organizations in the future.

Charmetrea Cobbs

“On my way to work I see people sleeping under the bridge,” Cobbs says. “They’re standing on the corner. I pass them every day. This was my opportunity to minister to them.”

Cobbs crochets 3-by-6-foot mats for homeless people through her ministry called “Stitched in Prayer,” a group of about 10 women. Others in the community also pitch in with the crocheting. The purpose of the easy-to-clean mats is to keep people dry and off the ground.

Each mat takes about three weeks to make and requires 500-600 plastic bags, Cobbs says. She accepts donated plastic bags through the First Baptist Church North Tulsa, 1414 N. Greenwood Ave. Cobbs also hosts “folding parties” where people can fold and cut the bags, and also learn how to crochet them together.

Cobbs received a lot of interest in her mats after the floods, and she envisions partnering with organizations to donate the mats wrapped with things like toothpaste, soap and other goods.

Marlys Olson Dow

The Montereau Retirement Community is home to a group of volunteer knitters — one of more than 3,200 such groups nationwide. They knit “knockers,” light-weight, prostheses for women who have had mastectomies. Like silicon prostheses, the knockers can be worn inside a woman’s bra.

Dow got the idea from her daughter-in-law, who had a preventative double mastectomy. “All of us who are female connect our femininity to our breasts,” Dow says. “You lose one and it’s, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”

The knockers come in various colors, and are available free of charge and for all breast sizes. Each woman also receives one pair for a single mastectomy and two pairs for a double mastectomy. “One to wear and one to wash,” Dow says.

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Some of the knockers are donated to Tulsa’s Cancer Treatment Center of America and Susan G. Komen Oklahoma.

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Pairs can be requested at or by emailing Yarn for the knockers is purchased from Get Stitchin’ in Tulsa, which takes donations on behalf of those who knit the knockers.

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