Volunteers make dresses from pillowcases for Haitian orphans
Local church members transform pillowcases into clothes for Haitian orphans.
Monday, May 23, 2011 - 21:21
BLESS THIS DRESS: Frame helps a girl into a new dress made from an old pillowcase. (Photo: Doris Frame)
That pillowcase you rest your head upon. That pillowcase you fill with Halloween candy. That pillowcase that endured hard hits in pillow fights between best friends and siblings. That pillowcase is now a dress for an eight-year-old Haitian girl.
"They were just thrilled with their new dresses and shorts," said Doris Frame.
Frame traveled to Haiti four times. She's been there twice this year, delivering dresses, diapers and shorts made from T-shirts.
"I fell in love with the Haitian people. Their needs are so great and I want to try to continue to help them," she said.
Frame wanted to help after her daughter survived the earthquake almost a year and a half ago.
40 dresses, 40 pairs of shorts and hundreds of diapers later, Frame continues to plan trips to deliver more handmade clothes to orphans in Haiti.
A recent sewing workshop provided volunteers with the opportunity to design and create dresses from pillowcases and shorts from old T-shirts.
Frame got the idea for the pattern after she attended a workshop in Chicago. Two professional seamstresses created the patterns and inspired Frame to host her own dress making workshop in the suburbs.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, hosted by Batavia Congregational Church, dozens of women cut, ironed, sewed and designed dresses and shorts for Frame to take to Haiti on her trip in July.
"[The following day], the whole buzz at church was the workshop," she said. "Women enjoyed it so much. They felt they were contributing."
Other recent devastating disasters have diverted volunteers from Haiti.
"People are willing to help, but Haiti has gone into the background," said Frame.
She explained that a lot of the aide agencies have left. Haiti was a third world country before the earthquake and it's still in horrible condition, devastating survivors.
But that doesn't stop her. Frame has offered her contributions to both the Kay Angel Orphanage and Joy in Hope Orphanage, in Jacmel, Haiti. She will go back again in July with a team, delivering diapers and clothes, as well as serving food at the local hospital. In October, she'll return with a team to help build a home.
Back in the states, she has spoken of her experiences at numerous engagements. Second-grade students donate diapers. Family and friends around the community and in her church donate money to help support her trips. Every bit contributes to remarkable moments.
"When I gave the girls their dresses, I was overwhelmed with joy," said Frame. "Tears just came to my eyes. The children were just staring big-eyed — they were so excited that they could try on a dress."
Frame encourages others to volunteer even if they can't sew. She herself doesn't have a background in it.
"There's something for everyone," she said. "People can design or just draw straight lines, or cut. People can also donate supplies for the workshop."
After making several trips down to Haiti, Frame still finds joy and beauty in the opportunity to volunteer.
"Haiti is now a part of my life, forever."