My friend Janice Ferguson asked a good question on her blog on charity sewing. I gave a short response there, but thought I would answer with a little more color here.
This year my kids participated in a small, informal homeschool co-op in Waseca, Minnesota, a town of about 9,000 people. About six families met weekly at Christ Community Church (CCC) for a variety of extra-curricular classes. One area of interest was sewing, specifically for charity.
Two of my sewing friends pointed me to the Little Dresses for Africa pattern by Nancy’s Notions. Ladies from their churches make these dresses often, and missionaries hand-deliver them to those in need. Our pastor’s wife, Rhonda Johnson, had just returned from a missions trip to Ghana, so this group of people came to mind as the recipient of our attempt at this project.
My son, Ben, was just about 5 months old, so coordinating a day of sewing with children seemed overwhelming to me at the time; however, I did not want to stand in the way of the inspiration that was developing. My daughter, Hannah, began pulling together pieces of fabric that would work for this project, and at the same time, my friend Stacey Dufault began making plans to organize the sewing afternoon.
Stacey contacted one of the ladies in the sewing group from CCC, and within a few hours, we had at least four ladies willing to help us work with the kids. It was a great advantage for us to have their experience and skill.
Each family brought their sewing machine and supplies, along with any fabric that they were able to contribute.
Rhonda Johnson brought her laptop and shared pictures of the children in Ghana with our kids and told how the dresses would be a blessing to them.
The kids did an outstanding job. In that one afternoon in March, the group made 14 little dresses more or less ready for Ghana.
In May, some of the dresses were displayed during a Celebrating the Arts evening at CCC. They will be hand-delivered to children in Ghana this November.
It was a blessing to me to experience how much can come together with each person contributing just a little.