Several years ago, Nancy Hamilton received a newspaper clipping in the mail from her sister in Hurricane, W.Va., with a note that said, “Here’s something I think we could do.”
The clipping was about a woman named Daphne Jessup, also from West Virginia, who had started a non-profit ministry to provide clothing to the boys and girls of Third World countries.
Sewing 4 Souls (S4S), now in its third year, has distributed over 6,200 items of clothing to children in 14 countries.
Nancy and her sister, Gail Childress, were - and still are - avid seamstresses. Gail belonged to a number of quilting guilds in West Virginia and recruited her friends who sewed, while Nancy cut out the dresses and shorts. She found that many of the older women she knew were unable to cut out pieces, but were able and willing to sew. They were also more than happy to clean out their cabinets of fabric from their days as quilters or seamstresses!
“Almost all the fabric for these projects is donated,” said Nancy. “The women just keep cleaning out and bringing the material to us! It’s a win-win: We get fabric we need for free and they’re happy to have the extra space and know that it’s going to a good cause.”
To date, Nancy has cut out over 2,500 dresses and pairs of shorts.
Nancy and her husband, Bill, have also become excellent bargain hunters!
“We are up very early some days looking for $1 a pair flip flops, children’s T-shirts, and small, lightweight toys to send along with the clothes,” Nancy said.
When an item of clothing is finished, the dress (or shorts and T-shirt for boys) is packed in a large plastic bag, labeled with the gender and age of the child, along with a copy of the Plan of Salvation in the language of the country it is going to, a pair of flip flops and perhaps a small toy. For many of these children, these are the first new clothes they have ever received.
“When I cut out a dress or a pair of shorts, I always include a pocket,” said Nancy. “These children have nothing, so if they find a rock or a small object they want to keep, they have a place to put it.”
While most of the men and women involved in the ministry will never meet the recipients of their efforts, missionaries are happy to share - through photos and letters - the happiness and appreciation the items bring to those who receive them.
Daphne posted this message on her Facebook page in early April: Exciting News! We are packing now for a trip to Nicaragua. The trip will be in May and missionaries from Kingsport, Tenn., will be taking our clothing, flip flops, and some small toys. ... Some of my friends are gathering vegetable seeds for the missionaries to take. They teach these families how to plant and grow gardens. Pray for this trip and all the efforts to help those in great need while also reaching souls for Christ. We may never hear news of souls saved but we can keep our eyes on HIM. Appreciate everyone who keeps S4S in their prayers.
For information about Sewing4Souls, visit http://www.sewing4souls.net/ or Like the Sewing4Souls page on Facebook.
Unsung Heroes is a monthly feature recognizing volunteers or employees who work behind the scenes to help their organization or business succeed. Watch for it each month in Sunday Stories. To nominate a volunteer or employee for Unsung Heroes, email Sunday Stories' editor Carmen Musick at firstname.lastname@example.org.