One-on-one volunteers have been teaching eight weekly basic sewing classes for refugees four times each year since 2010. Students have come from Bhutan, Nepal, Burma/Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, South Africa, Kenya and Iraq. In each class they sew a household or clothing item. At each final class, our more than 125 graduates have received donated sewing machines, fabric and supplies. To visit a class, volunteer or make a donation of a portable sewing machine, fabric, notions or money, call Jennifer Crittenden at 315-633-2817.
October 2019 update: On Oct. 24 we finished the first sewing session with a giant giveaway. Each student received her choice of fabric and trims such as lace, rick rack, ribbon; a sewing machine; and a bag containing scissors, ten spools of thread, machine needles, hand needles, pins, extra bobbins and other sewing items. All of these items had been donated. We serviced the machines and bought scissors with money donated by the United Church of Fayetteville. Students were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Somalia, Jordan, Palestine and Burma.
On Nov. 7 we will begin a new class of students.
At the end of the eight-week sessions, each student will receive a donated sewing machine, supplies, and fabric. Please spread the word that we need portable working machines that do straight stitch and zig-zag (other stitches are fine, but not necessary), and money to purchase other necessary supplies.
In the nine years that this program has operated, we have averaged expenses of about $600 per year. Our most expensive purchases are for scissors, elastic, fiberfil, and other small items for the 32 students that we teach each year. The Northside Learning Center charges us no rent for their sunny basement space where we hold classes and the large closet where we keep the sewing machines (that are owned by InterFaith Works) and all the supplies and fabrics. We have been blessed with occasional donations that have kept us solvent. But our balance is about $500, so if you know of a church or other organization that would be able to donate to this program, we would be very grateful.
Thank you, everyone, for your continued support,
Jennifer Roberts Crittenden
Click here for an article in the Post Standard in February, 2012, about our work with these refugee women (scroll to the middle).