[Note: This post will remain “topped” until the 31st. Look for new articles below this one. Thanks!]
If you’ve been following LAF’s posts for the past ten days, you know all about the devastating losses experienced due to the tornadoes in Alabama and other states. LAF writer Kelly Crawford and her family lost their home, vehicles, and most of what they owned in a matter of seconds. Neighbor and fellow blogger Sherry Lee lost not only her home and possessions but also her husband of 30 years and the father of her children.
There are several fundraisers in progress to help these families begin to rebuild, replace vehicles, and start over (see earlier posts). But we’ve gotten lots of comments from people wanting to know if there was a special way they could assist these families. Knowing the Lees and Crawfords personally, I began to try to think of a unique way LAF readers could bless them. LAF reader Carol K. dropped me a line to ask if either family had a mother or daughter who liked to sew and mentioned wanting to send sewing supplies if that was the case.
The light bulb went on in my head immediately, as both the Crawford and Lee ladies love to sew and produced many of the things their families wore or used around the home. So we began to swap ideas about how we could pitch in to rebuild those sewing rooms. With the loss of really important, “big ticket” items like homes and vehicles, sewing machines, patterns, fabric, and other supplies would naturally be pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities. So we decided to start an online “sewing bee” of sorts to fill this need.
If you are an avid sewing enthusiast, perhaps you have a “stash” of fabric (like all us fabric-a-holics) and can donate one yard or several. Or perhaps you have some extra sewing supplies (binding, buttons, pins, etc.) on hand that you don’t plan to use in the near future. Maybe you love to sew and would just like to create an item (or two!) of clothing for the children in these families. Or perhaps you’d like to pitch in with funds to help replace each family’s sewing machine. There are lots of ways you can help in this effort, whether monetarily or with physical items donated to the “stash” for the Lees and Crawfords.
The ball is now rolling, as we have partnered with single mom and LAF writer Diane Shiffer of Tomato Soup Cake, who is taking on the role of coordinating all the physical donations through her church so they can be sorted, organized, bundled for each family, and shipped where they need to go once the “bee” is over. So here’s how you can participate:
- Send any sewing stash supplies you’d like to donate to Victory Baptist Church, 3713 Clarendon Road, Albion, NY 14411-9542 (ATTN: Diane Shiffer). Be sure to include a note of encouragement for each family. There’s no need to mention your name if you wish to remain anonymous, but a personal note is such a boost!
- Consider purchasing a gift card for Hancock Fabrics, JoAnn’s, or Hobby Lobby, all of which are in the Birmingham area and accessible to both families. A gift card in any amount can be a real boon, as it gives the recipient the freedom to spend money on something she might otherwise have regretfully put aside for a later date. You will be able to specify the name of the recipient when you order and include a gift message if you wish. Please make sure all cards go to Victory Baptist Church at the address above. They will be bundled with the package for the correct family and sent with the entire sewing stash when the bee is over.
- Make one or two (or more) items of clothing for the Crawford and Lee children. Because they lost everything, everything is needed from pajamas and nightgowns to skirts and Sunday shirts. See the Guidelines below for help in creating things to fill this need.
- Like to quilt or embroider? Why not stitch up a throw-quilt or decorative item for the homes that will be rebuilt? Again, see the Guidelines for ideas on color schemes and tastes.
- Finally, we’ve started a Chip-In fund to raise money to purchase a new sewing machine, a rolling machine tote, iron, and ironing board for each family. LAF reader Carol has actually been in touch with a sewing shop in Birmingham that is eager to help these families as well and may be able to offer a discounted rate for a couple of beautiful new Baby Lock machines. We need to raise enough funds for the machines and supplies, plus shipping or delivery, so we’ve set the budget at $750 per family. Any amount is helpful, and we’ve set a goal of May 31st to raise all needed funds. There’s a special Paypal fund set aside for this project, and the Chip-In widget below will show our progress as we work towards getting those new machines and accessories. Simply click to donate. You do not need a Paypal account in order to contribute. You can use a debit card without signing up.
Diane and I will be keeping careful records of all things contributed. If there are duplicates when it comes to patterns, we will make sure those items go to other victims of the recent storms in the South through Salvation Army or another charitable organization. You can be sure that everything received will go where there is a need, and we are so excited about this special labor of love for our sisters in Christ. Thank you in advance for anything you can do, even if it is “just” continuing to pray for these precious families.
- As far as fabrics go, all-natural materials like cottons and linens are best, as Alabama is humid from April to October. Just about any colors and styles can be used, but especially helpful will be lengths of material large enough to be used for clothing items (see next point).
- The Lees and Crawford ladies would appreciate modest, feminine, classic patterns for skirts, blouses, dresses, aprons, nightgowns, boys’ button shirts, shorts, long pants, and play clothes. Even patterns for fun things like stuffed dolls, doll clothes, purses, totes, and toy animals would be welcome, as both families are “crafty” and often produced beautiful items for local fairs and events.
- When it comes to actual clothing, ready-mades of all the above items are needed. Here’s the list of needed sizes:Crawford Family:
Oldest daughter’s size: Ladies’ 6-8 (but she is tall–5’6″)
Younger girls’ sizes: 10, 8, 6, 2
Boys’ sizes: 12, 6, 3-6 months
Older girls’ sizes: Ladies’ 14, 12, 10, 8
Younger girls’ sizes: 10, 8
Older boys’ sizes: Men’s medium (shirts) — 38-40
Younger boys’ sizes: 16, 14, 12, 10, 6
- For home dec. items like quilts, throws, and wall-hangings, I am able to provide specifics on what each family likes. The Crawford family’s “Cedar House” was decorated with sage greens, chocolate browns, and cheerful touches of scarlet. The Lees love the classic “country” look with florals, sky blues, creamy yellows, and light greens.
- If you have any questions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take a few days to answer you, but you will receive a reply as soon as we can respond.
Please feel free to spread the word through your own blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you want to link directly to the Chip-In page about this fundraiser, that link is http://sewingfund.chipin.com/lee-and-crawford-ladies. Thanks so much!