By Susan Crawford - Retired HWDSB, Writer, St. Michael's Hamilton
Published: May 2008
Related Topics: Outreach
What do you do when you have completed one Outreach project? Why, begin another, of course!
On Saturday, March 15, members of St. Michael's parish in Hamilton gathered in the parish hall for a "Sewathon". Now to all the members of our parish, this is pronounced Sew' thon. Just ask any parishioner and they will tell you the neat story behind our pronunciation!
The event was coordinated by our Outreach Committee. Several women in the parish had already begun making diapers at home. The women announced the project at each of our Sunday services a month ago. The project: the Layette Program for Haiti; with the emphasis on making diapers. People were asked to dig into their linen closets to find any gently used flannelette and toweling. Donations of baby powder, oil, soap, gently used newborn clothing; face cloths, etc. were also on the list. The results, as usual, from our parish went above and beyond.
On the Saturday, the parish hall was set up just like a clothing factory. (Some people likened it to a "sweat shop"). Tables, for cutters, tables for assembling and tables for sewing were lined up along the walls and down the middle of the hall. Women brought in their sergers as well as regular sewing machines. Wooden patterns were used to ensure the material was cut to the right size. The huge difference between our "shop" and a third world country clothing factory was the atmosphere of fellowship, fun and camaraderie that exuded from the room. Water, tea and treats were enjoyed throughout the afternoon. There was no worry about quotas. Men and women sewed, cut, snipped, pinned and prepared the material for stitching. Our youngest participant was seven year old Heather Wilcox who came out to help with her mother. While putting together some of the material, Heather made this memorable comment, "the babies will feel the love in the diaper from our hands!" With that she kissed the diapers before they were passed over to be sewn! Out of the mouths of babes!
In all, about 36 people came and helped at one time or another throughout the afternoon. Those who were unable to attend sent their donations of clothing, rubber pants, knitted layettes and material. Four tables and the stage area were stacked with the donations.
Around 3:30 we all took a well-deserved break and enjoyed chili (meat & veggie) rolls, a cheese and fruit plate and some delicious (low-cal!) desserts. All the food was donated. Those who could stayed until after six. At that time a count showed we had produced 206 diapers! Some assembled diapers were taken home to be finished so the count of completed diapers will increase once these are returned and those sewn at home before the actual Sewathon.
A member of our Outreach Committee made a very fitting comment at a recent meeting. "Outreach is useless without fellowship". He also said, "Our congregation made this happen. St. Michael's has a heart for Outreach!" We certainly can say that we had fellowship and with the huge pile of donations we certainly can say we have a heart. The results of our labours will be sent to "Sew-on-Fire" Ministries in Burlington who will ready the donations for shipment to Haiti in the near future.
At a recent gathering of some friends of mine, who each attend their own places of worship, I happened to mention our latest project. I have mentioned many of St. Michael's Outreach to my friends. One of the ladies, who attends the United Church, commented "you do a lot of good Outreach at your church, don't you!" Yes, I responded we do and I am very proud of our parish and its commitment to Outreach, not only in Haiti but in our immediate community. We have close to fifteen Outreach Projects in the surrounding community to which people in our parish are committed. Our Outreach committee is already lining up our next project which will benefit the immediate community.
Let me finish our story with a poem by one of the newest members of our church who was unable to help on the day of the Sewathon. Jean Davis sums up why we commit ourselves to Outreach.
My donation of sheets to help the scheme
Sadly I can't sew a seam!
However, I wish to play a part
My offer comes right from the heart.
We all will help for a wee while
Those new mums we hope will smile
Our offer, God will truly bless
We plan to give some happiness.
For those in need out there in Haiti
I will spread the word over in Blighty!
Others we trust will come 'on board'
In serving others, we serve the LORD!
p.s. The donations are still coming in!