Volunteers help tornado victim keep business open - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Volunteers help tornado victim keep business open

CANTON, TX (KLTV) - Sew'n Sew is open thanks to volunteers like Natalie Lee.

"I'm keeping it open on Friday and Saturday just trying to keep all the customers coming in and keep things moving and it's worked out real well," said Lee.

The store's owner, Thelma Barker, remains hospitalized after a tornado ripped through her home while she was inside.

"She's learning how to walk on one foot since her right foot she broke a bone in her ankle, she's having to learn how to manage that heavy cast," said Lee.

Thelma lost nearly everything in the storm. Friends say they couldn't let Thelma lose her business.

"Because this is Thelma. The store is her," said Lee.

"I've been a really close friend of hers for probably about 15 years and I met her through the store because that's my passion is quilting so I just wanted to help her out," said Wanda Sheram, volunteer.

Friends say Thelma is constantly giving to charities. In fact, several quilts will be donated Saturday to children. Volunteers say they thought it was time to give back to Thelma.

"She's just a very, very good hearted person," said Sheram.

In a week, friends say Thelma will be released from the hospital.

"She's talking about wanting to stop at the store on her way home from the hospital," said Lee.

"This is her life and she wants to be here immediately and with that drive that she has I think that's going to help her recover faster and get her back to the thing she really loves," said Sheram.

A fund is set up to help Thelma rebuild what the storm tore to pieces.  Donations can be made at any American National Bank branch. Checks should  be made out directly to Thelma Barker.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Sew ‘n Sew
22390 E. Hwy 64
Canton, TX 75103

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