Women from US church sew dresses for poor kids in PH
JENNINGS, Lousiana — In 1993, a small group of women from Jennings Church of Christ came together to sew quilts and curtains for a children’s home in Indiana.
Twenty-five years and dozens of quilts later, the small group of women, known as Dorcas Group, continues to meet twice a week to make dresses and other handcrafts to help children in the Philippines and others in need.
The group was named for Dorcas in Acts 9:36, “who was always doing good and helping the poor,” Joyce Broyles said.
The group began after two church members—Mary Meche and Loyce Kebodeaux—suggested they make quilts and matching curtains for a children’s home in Indiana.
Since then, the project has evolved into making clothes for orphans, lap robes, throws and bibs for local nursing homes, and flannel sleep pants for the homeless.
Needed in Philippines
“It took a lot of time and work to do the quilts, so we decided to start making outfits for children,” Broyles said.
When Kebodeaux and Broyles’ brother-in-law, Bob Morrow, went to the Philippines on a mission trip, he learned of the need for clothing there, so the group shifted its purpose to making clothing for the people in the Philippines.
Since then, the women have averaged 500 garments a year, including dresses for women, girls and babies and play shorts and tops for children.
“I have a blast doing it,” Roberta Koll said. “I get fulfillment in doing something for others. I am a widow, so it gives me something to do.”
Boxes of clothing, along with religious materials, hygiene products and snacks are sent to church leaders in the Philippines every three months.
“What pleases us is that the ministers give the garments away and never charge the people anything,” Broyles said.
A handful of women — including Broyles, Kebodeaux, Koll, Bonnie Langley and Judy Lejeune — remain in the core group.
“I’m sure Mary [Meche] never dreamed how her suggestion would evolve,” Broyles said. “God has blessed and enlarged our work because we do it for His glory, not ours. He gave us the talent and others have donated the materials, and we just go with it. For over 25 years now, we’ve enjoyed it. Since we all love to sew, it isn’t work to us.”
Langley said it was a fulfilling project to be part of.
“I heard what they were doing and wanted to be a part of doing something good for someone else,” Langley said. “I wanted to be a blessing to others.”
Most of the dressmakers are able to complete at least two garments a day, Broyles said.
The ladies used to buy the fabric and patterns themselves.
After word spread about the projects, the group began receiving donations from women who no longer sew, fabric shops that closed and leftover materials from yard sales.
The ladies also used prize money from fair entries to buy sewing machines.
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