Lillian Weber 100 in May on target to sew 1000 dresses
What does it mean when something “goes viral”? Well, I think you better ask Lillian Weber! Lillian is one of the many fantastic volunteers for Little Dresses for Africa who has dedicated the biggest part of every day to help the children of the world by making a little dress. What’s unusual about Lillian is that she will turn 100 in May 2015 and her goal is to have sewn 1000 dresses. The news has picked this story up and it’s spreading all over the internet and papers and has gone “viral”! This is good news for us because as the news spreads her story they also tell the story of what we are all committed to and that’s bringing relief to the most vulnerable of God’s children: little girls. We are so grateful for Lillian but we are also so grateful for you. Whatever level of participation you are involved in, whether it be to sew, to donate material, send money for shipping, help fold and ship or go with us to Africa…it’s all part of the mission and we are so thankful! So today, as we celebrate Lillian’s accomplishments, we also celebrate YOU and your participation and dedication to this ministry. To God be the glory as we continue to reach out to help others!
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A great article features the leader of the LDFA Richland, WA group. They’ve sewn over 6000 dresses. Wonderful work!
Sewing dresses, lives together
By KALEY CONNER
The constant whir of sewing machines filled the gym at Celebration Community Church in Hays, accompanied only by the sound of friendly chatter.The ringing of a bell changed all that — the sewing machines fell silent, and the sewers operating them erupted in applause.”That means a dress is done,” Connie Eigenmann said, a big smile on her face.A group of nearly 20 women gathered at the church Saturday morning as part of the ministry’s inaugural Little Dresses of Love campaign. Women from several area churches have united for the project, which will send handmade dresses to young girls in Third World countries.
The simple, brightly colored frocks will be included in shoe boxes the church is assembling as part of Operation Christmas Child, a national ministry that sends holiday gifts to needy children across the globe.Many Ellis County churches will participate in the gift drive, which will culminate with a collection next month. Inspiration from the project came from an international ministry called Little Dresses for Africa, said Vera Haver, who organized the project with Eigenmann.
“This year our goal is 1,000 by Nov. 1, and I see us meeting that easy as far as the dresses go,” Haver said.The project started a month ago, and approximately 500 dresses already had been completed prior to last weekend’s “work day” at the church. Finished dresses covered tables and hung on the walls.Haver said her sister, a resident of Colby, single-handedly finished 200 dresses for the project.
“Once you catch the fire for it, it’s just crazy,” Eigenmann said. “Some of these ladies would stay up all night long sewing dresses.”At the front of the room, a large pile of scrap material for the dresses continued to shrink.
“It’s beautiful,” Eigenmann said.Haver got the idea for the project at a quilt show this summer. She always has loved to sew and was looking for a way to expand Celebration’s quilt ministry.
“This is so awesome,” she said of the work day, “because we don’t take time out anymore to enjoy each other’s company. We’re always all so busy. This is an opportunity for women to just take a day and get to know one another, and at the same time serving God.”Eigenmann is quick to admit she’s not an expert sewer, but she has been involved with Operation Christmas Child since she moved to Hays five years ago. She also sponsors several children overseas and knows how much the dresses will be appreciated.
“Every year, they send me a picture of the girls,” she said of her sponsored children, who she visited in Africa last summer. “Sometimes for three years in a row, the girl is wearing the same dress. That’s the only article of clothing they’ve had for three years.
“So these dresses will definitely be cherished.”
Something as simple as a homemade dress also could serve as protection for the young women who often are left to raise their siblings if their parents die of AIDS or other prevalent diseases, said church member Sandy Bangle.”If they have a nice dress like this, their chances of being raped is far less, because they think they’re being well taken care of,” she said. “It makes a huge difference.”The women took a streamlined approach to last weekend’s workshop, dividing into several work stations.
Some women hemmed the dresses, while others inserted elastic and bindings for the straps. Non-sewers also were put to work matching fabric and adding embellishments.”That’s what personalizes it,” Eigenmann said. “So many hands touch it.”
March 06, 2013 – Ortonville- Nicole Holbrook was joined by about 50 seamstresses and tailors of all ages on March 3 at Hillside Bible Church in making 77 dresses that will be sent to Africa.
Not everyone in the group knew how to sew, but the ones without that particular talent cut fabric and pillowcases to assist in the project for the non-profit organization, “Little Dresses for Africa.”
Holbrook, a Goodrich High School senior, learned about the organization from one of her teachers. While she already had a community service project planned for her senior graduation requirement, she knew she wanted to take on the dress project as well.
“This is right up my alley,” she said. “It’s something God laid on my heart. The organization gives hope to teens and little girls in Africa and is a great way to share the gospel with the children receiving (the dresses) and the people making them.”
Holbrook approached Hillside Youth Pastor Ken Tison and they talked to the Hillside congregation. Over the course of more than a month, donations of fabric, pillowcases, and other materials began rolling in. Holbrook bought a pattern and then used cardboard to make more of the simple pattern for the dresses, which will fit children sizes 3 to 8. The group then worked until Sunday evening cutting, sewing, and ironing the 77 dresses.
“I am so excited and ecstatic that we made that many dresses,” said Holbrook. “We’re not actually done making them. A lot of the ladies are still really excited and will be making dresses at home throughout the month of March.”
Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit Christian organization based in Brownstown, Mich. According to their website, littledressesforafrica.org, their mission is “to provide relief to children of Africa, by distributing dresses to little girls, primarily in African villages, but also other countries in crisis. Because of the widespread AIDS pandemic, little girls are often left to be the primary care givers of their young siblings. It is our hope that in delivering dresses to these young girls, that a seed will be planted in their hearts, in the name of Jesus, that they are worthy.”
Holbrook hopes to send 100 dresses to the organization to send to Africa, and she would also like to take dresses to Belize this summer when she goes on a mission trip there with the Hillside youth group.
- Take note: Your children are watching! Thanks, Abby!!! Good Job!
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