I have purchased a lot of fabric in the past few months, but haven’t stitched with any of it yet. That didn’t stop me from buying more this last weekend. As the lady was cutting my fabric she asked me what kind of quilt I was making and I told her that it was for sundresses, not quilts. My mom spoke up and explained how I make dresses for the little girls in Haiti. You should have seen the look on the woman’s face when she said, “So you donate all of it?” Umm… yes.
It puzzles me how surprised this woman was that I would pay for material, sew it into dresses, and then just give it away. To complete strangers. To people whom I won’t ever know how they even reacted to my donation. And yet I continue to do it. Why? Because I have the means and ability to do so. I love to sew, but how much stuff can I possibly make for myself or family? This way I get to put a smile on a little girl’s face (hopefully!) and I get to enjoy the time that it takes me to sew them together.
I used to cross stitch quilt squares for an organization called COLE’s Quilts. It was started by the message board that I belonged to at the time. One of the members had a little boy with SMA (a debilitating nervous system disorder that most children with it pass away by the age of 3). Well, little Cole was instantly adopted by the entire message board and some ladies got together, stitched squares, had another lady sew them together and quilt them, and they presented it to Cole. It was a visible reminder for our member that she had a support group who loved her little boy, too. Word started to spread and soon there were requests for quilts for other children with SMA. I donated to that for a few years, but I have to admit that I’ve drifted away from this charity. It takes a while to stitch a square and so I just haven’t done it. That’s why I like the Dresses for Missions; it takes me maybe an afternoon to make one dress. Instant gratification!
I thought about it and realized that there might be more people out there like me… they would like to help, but they aren’t sure how. They love sewing, but have run out of people to sew for or things to sew. If you are looking for something to possibly do, please read on for more ideas.
While looking through the blog on Craftsy I came across this post about sewing smocks for babies in the NICU. I have to admit that I stopped and thought about it for a minute, and then decided that I had enough on my plate. However, I have bookmarked this one in case I suddenly have more time on my hands.
Another charity that I found sews clothes, blankets, and other basics that babies need in their first few months of life. Bundles of Love is located in Minnesota, but it appears that they will accept donations from all over. People are always yelling about how our government gives money and help to other nations when we have plenty of people in our own country who need help. They are right. It starts with you and me, though. Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Do you want to help others? Then find a charity that helps new babies who are in need. There are plenty of them!
Newborns in Need is another charity that looks to be similar to Bundles of Love. Help give needy babies a warm start in this world with clothes or blankets that were made with love. Do you remember how good it felt to curl up with a blanket or quilt that somebody had made just for you? Give another child that same kind of comfort and love.
How about a charity that helps women and children? The Pink Slipper Project finds shelters that will accept donations of slippers and they do massive drives to make enough slippers for all of the women and children staying there.
If you’re interested in making dresses like what I’ve been doing for my church there is Little Dresses for Africa. This charity does the exact same thing that the Dresses for Missions at my church is doing; making pillowcase dresses for little girls.
Do you want to do something that will help out an organization closer to home? You can make fleece blankets or quilted blankets for your local animal shelter. They can always use blankets and definitely would be appreciative of whatever you can give. My mom makes dog blankets for the local shelter because it gives her a chance to practice with her long arm quilting machine.
Looking for more ideas? Here’s a VERY long list of sewing charities that you can check out. Some of these links may no longer work, but at least you can get a better idea of what’s out there. Be sure to check out the charity’s requirements, too, before deciding to donate to them. Some organizations require that all donations come from smoke free homes. Other may request that you not allude to anything religious or spiritual in nature on anything that you donate due to certain regulations. The charity should have a decent list of things that you need to do, or avoid, before donating. Take some time and look over the list. Who knows what hearts you may end up touching!