Sewing up some holiday cheer

Staff writer

Hoping to help 2-to-6-year-old girls in developing nations, volunteer seamstresses produced about 80 simple pillowcase dresses last week at Eastmoor United Methodist Church.

The “Sew Much Love” volunteers will include the dresses in shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and notes of encouragement.

Boxes packed by Operation Christmas Child volunteers across the United States will then be sent to children in developing countries such as Mexico and African nations.

“We have historically done little shoe boxes,” organizer Norma Kline said. “This year we are adding pillowcase dresses, but we are using fabric yardage instead of pillowcases.”

The dresses were inspired by something she read.

“The idea is if a little girl in a Third World country is wearing a nice dress, she is less likely to be abducted into the sex trade,” she said. “They’re just simple dresses with a little trim, but we have all kinds of fabric patterns.”

Seamstresses set up stations to assemble the dresses and took turns cutting, sewing, ironing, inserting elastic, and finally sewing on trim.

Volunteers plan to produce about 150 dresses for 300 shoeboxes. The remaining 150 boxes will be sent to boys.

Nationwide, the shoebox project, sponsored by a charity called Samaritan’s Purse, has delivered more than 100 million shoeboxes to boys and girls in 130 countries since 1993.

Sandra Garrard organizes the collection of shoebox gifts at Eastmoor throughout the year.

“We collect gifts and supplies all year long,” Garrard said. “Then, closer to Christmas, we have a wrapping party and a packing party.

“It’s just a really fun thing to do. The gifts don’t last, but the gospel that we send along lasts forever.”

Volunteer seamstresses included Kline, Garrard, Grace Yoder, Shannon Taylor, Linda Taylor, Joni Crofoot, Kathy Goentzel, Mary Smith, Wanda Carr, Valerie Wasmuth, and Feebie Holderman.

“Sew Much Love” plans to produce about 70 more dresses.

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