Category Archives: Volunteer

New Sewing Opportunity with Make Welcome!!!

I’ve been busy working on a dress for the magazine, so I have nothing that I can show now for my sewing projects.  LOL!  You’ll just have to wait to see this one.  Maybe next summer!   But, in the meantime, I’ve found a new ministry that can use my sewing skills and I’m so thrilled to be part of it!

This week I had the opportunity to spend 2 mornings sewing with the refugee women at their sewing school.  This is the most wonderful, well thought out ministry that falls under the umbrella of Project 658.  Beth Pickney and Julie Caminesch started this sewing ministry and more recently it has joined with Project 658.  Project 658 encompasses so many areas that minister to the needs of the refugee population.  It is located close to neighborhoods where they live and has multiple ministries, including ESL classes, culinary classes, a medical clinic, Bible studies for homeless, after school enrichment programs, the Make Welcome sewing school and much more!

They provide childcare in the mornings so that anyone participating with little ones can still attend any of these classes free of charge.  At lunch time, the culinary students serve a delicious meal (and plenty of it!) to anyone that has been involved that morning from the little ones to the homeless and all the employees.  The food is delicious!!!  I’ve been so impressed with everything about this ministry and know I’ll be blessed by being part of it!

There were 7 ladies at the Tuesday morning beginner sewing class.  Beth did an amazing job teaching them, starting at the basics of the sewing machine and the sewing tools and then moving on to let them test drive the machines.  There are 8 machines for students to use.  They did a great job!

The Wednesday class is making the Tamarack jacket by Grainline Studio.   They spent the morning cutting out their fabrics and batting for the jackets.  Next week the sewing will begin.  Almost EVERYTHING that these ladies use has been donated except for the sewing machines which have been purchased.  EVERYTHING!!!  Check out the wall of fabrics.  One of the other volunteers, Lisa, spent much of the summer organizing the fabrics!  Doesn’t it look great!

The sewing school has a dedicated space at Project 658, so at the end of the class, everything is put in the proper bins and ready for the next class.  Classes are currently Monday – Thursday mornings and there’s a waiting list of ladies that want to participate!

Even if you aren’t in Charlotte, you can still participate by supporting this wonderful ministry!  I hope you’ll consider it!  You can go to the this link.  I know that every dollar donated will be appreciated and will go towards supplies for the classes.  This is a non-profit agency, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Not only do the ladies learn how to sew in this school, but they have the opportunity to “earn” a sewing machine just by attending classes!  They have to pay only 1/4 of the cost of the machine after they have attended enough classes.  Many women have done this and now know how to sew AND have a sewing machine at home.

The ministry works hard to find sewing opportunities for the graduates of the school that are interested in employment.  These 2 ladies come in each morning and sew on 2 of the other machines doing all sorts of sewing projects.

One day they were making men’s ties for a cottage industry that sells them.  Here they are sewing labels into t-shirts for another company.  There is a mother/daughter team that sews headbands at home (1000 or more each week!!!) for another cottage industry.  Holly and Sage owner, Jennifer not only volunteers, but also employees 4 of the ladies to make her line of children’s clothing.  There are other businesses that provide opportunities as well – I’m still figuring all of this out.  But, what an amazing ministry for these women!!!  They are paid fair wages for their work and can work from home or can come in and sew on site.

This is truly showing hospitality and the face of Christ to so many of the refugee and immigrant population in Charlotte!!!  I am so thrilled to be a small part of this ministry and look forward to getting to know the ladies as well as everyone else there.

So, to keep up with the ladies, I’ve purchased my pattern, have it taped and ready to trace off my size and I’ll be making my jacket at home so that I can be one step ahead of the group and be able to answer any questions that might come up.  Of course, the other fabulous volunteers have already been involved in teaching this class and have answers for everything!  I know I can count on them.  🙂

Keep on stitching!!!