From Ortonville to Africa

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,, 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.

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