Biography Rachel O’Neill
Rachel Alexander O’Neill is married to Michael, her husband of 41 years. They reside in Brownstown, Michigan, near their two adult children and their families, which include four grandchildren. Michael and Rachel are active members of MetroCity Church, and serve their community and church through Little Dresses for Africa, a non-profit 501c3 Christian organization established by Rachel in 2008.
Little Dresses for Africa distributes little dresses made of pillow cases throughout many parts of Africa, to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy. “We’re not just sending dresses, we’re sending hope.” The purpose of the ministry is to send hope to the most vulnerable of God’s children: little girls. To date, LDFA has delivered over 3.5 MILLION little dresses (and also britches for boys) from all 50 states of the US, as well as Australia, The Dominican, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada and many more. 81 countries in all! They are distributed through orphanages, churches and communities, as a way to encourage and teach lessons on nutrition, clean water and sanitation as well as conducting Bible schools, feeding the children, offering relief through projects such as “Buckets of Hope” for the widows and care-givers of children suffering from AIDS. These brightly colored buckets contain supplies such as salt, oil, sugar, flour, rice, a mosquito net and a Bible in their language. Little Dresses for Africa, led by Rachel, also conducts short term mission trips once a year to serve the communities as they distribute the little dresses.
Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, in Sociology, from University of Michigan, and a Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University, in Business and works full time at AVL Engineering in support of the Chairman and CEO. Because of her Humanitarian efforts with Little Dresses for Africa, Rachel has been honored by many gracious organizations:
2012 Salute to Women by The American Association of University Women for her role in the enhancement of the lives of children and the encouragement of community involvement
2011 The Distinguished Woman Award by The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Regional Conference
2010- Area Community Award byThe Daughters of the American Revolution
2009 Making a Difference Award at both the Local and Regional Levels of the Soroptimists International Society
2009– Woman of the Year by the American Association of University Women
Also in 2011, Little Dresses for Africa was listed as a Top Three Finalist at the Classy Awards, San Diego, CA
Rachel grew up in a very close family and is the youngest of six daughters. Her father was a preacher and her mother was an English teacher. LDFA has funded and built The Nan Ray School of Learning Primary School, in the Village of Thobola, Malawi, East Africa, named in honor of Rachel’s mother, an educator, as well as a second primary school in the Mataka Village called Jepthah School of Hope. Because of her passion concerning Africa, Rachel speaks on behalf of Little Dresses for Africa to schools, community groups and churches, near and far, to encourage community involvement in helping others, as well as to raise awareness of the plight of little girls in Africa.