MIDDLEBURY - A few hours of work and socializing can soon lead to a ray of sunshine, delivered to orphaned and at risk children in some of the world's most strife-ridden regions.
Next month, Mothers Without Borders Vermont will once again touch the lives of these children when they host their 5th annual Sew-a-thon on Saturday, Feb. 5. The organization is part of a national effort to aid children in warn-torn Africa and in Haiti, and to provide relief to the youngest, most vulnerable victims or war, poverty and disaster and HIV. The sew-a-thon is a simultaneous event, held in both Bristol and Middlebury, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mothers Without Borders Vermont has shipped nearly 3,000 "T-shirt dresses" to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Haiti, and they hope to ship many more. The event brings community members together to make as many dresses as possible in one day. The dresses are a simple design - a T-shirt with a brightly colored skirt sewn on the bottom hem to formal dress. Mother's Without Borders is a Utah based organization who's mission is to offer hope the orphaned and vulnerable children in the world, to support programs that ensure the children are provided with safe shelter, nutritious food, clean water, education, vocational training and access to caring adults.
The Vermont branch has found their niche by providing young girls with their very own brand-new dresses - and what girl doesn't love a new dress? Their efforts were featured in a recent Ladies Home Journal article, as well WCAX and PBS.
This year, Mothers Without Borders Vermont will welcome the founder of Mothers Without Borders, Kathy Headlee Miner, who will provide the latest information on the organization's Family Resource Center in Zambia, one of several family and learning centers they sponsor throughout Africa.
"The Ladies Home Journal article spurred donations from across the country," said Darla Senecal of Bristol, one of the local group's organizers. "We received e-mails and letters and a lady from the Bronx, N.Y., donated 30 dresses from her church group."
To be successful, the Sew-a-thon will need a lot of help. Sewing experience is not necessary and there are many other ways to help, including matching T-shirts and fabrics, ironing, cutting and packing. They also need donations of materials, such as lightweight fabric, new or gently used plain colored T-shirts, size 12 months to youth large (no logos), sewing machines, seam rippers, scissors, cutters, mats, irons and ironing boards, strapping tape and packing materials. And, of course, sewers of any experience level will be welcomed with open arms and a big smile.
For more information, call Pat Chase (Middlebury) at (802) 382-9325 or Nancy Luke (Bristol) at (802) 435-2376.