As was done in many communities during the economic relapse of the mid-thirties, Marceline organized a timely service for the relief of needy individuals. It began in 1934 when Mayor B.J. Thomas appointed Edna Locke Thomas (now Mrs. Otis DeLong) to supervise a sewing room in the basement of Carnegie Library and lasted until 1938. Seven women workers made quilt tops at first and later made garments of all types. The number of workers was later increased to nineteen and 7,361 garments were made. The sewing room produced a variety of goods including men’s shirts, women’s dresses and smocks, girls’ dresses, men’s union suits, women’s gowns, shorts for men and boys, layettes, men’s pajamas, girls’ slips and pajamas, pillow cases, sheets, quilt top pieces, comforter tops, complete quilts and comforters.
Records indicate the following materials were used: 4,672 yards of print material, 6,204 yards of flannel outing, 6,176 yards of chambray, 2,660 dozen buttons, 500 spools of thread and 1,284 yards of muslin. The cutter for yard goods used was Virgie Smith (now Mrs. J.W. Jackson).
The garments made in the basement of the Carnegie Library were distributed to needy Linn County families on relief.
In 1935, the P.W.A. Canning Factory canned chickens and meat and vegetables from a 10-acre garden. Fifteen men workers assisted on the canning project and the canned food was used for school lunches for the 300 children then enrolled in Marceline’s three public schools. The group also did bookbinding for volumes in the library as well as for school books. Mrs. DeLong was supervisor throughout the five years these relief services were in operation.