Force 4 Good: Little Stitches of Hope
Mary Rakay and Lonnie Haines lead a small army of volunteers in a small room at the Summit on the Park in Canton.
They run Little Stitches of Hope and make dresses and shorts for children who don't know what it's like to own new clothes. The clothes are then delivered to countries all over the world in Africa, Haiti and the Phillippines to name a few.
Haines said they began more than six years ago by making dresses for a group called Little Dresses. Then she traveled to South Africa and delivered hundreds of dresses to an orphanage in Zimbabwe.
"I noticed how many of the kids didn't have any clothes," Haines said. "They didn't have shoes. They walked to school without shoes."
It was after that trip that Haines and Rakay began sending dresses with nursing teachers who travel the world to teach nursing.
Rakay teaches nursing at the University of Michigan.
"Some of my nurse friends have taken pictures there and they make you cry," Rakay said. "To see the devastation that they live in and the poverty they live in."
No sewing experience is required to help Little Stitches of Hope. They meet at the Summit on the Park in Canton at least twice a year to sew and make kits to send out for others to sew at home.
The meetings are set up at the summit through the Canton Club 55+.
For these women, the reward of their work is seeing the reactions of the children after they are given the clothes.
"Seeing the looks on their faces. You can tell by the pictures that are there, that they're just glowing and it makes you glow inside," Haines said.
"That's what's really emotional, to see the little girls wearing our dresses and when we saw that, we just said we have to do more," said Rakay.
The Rotary Club of Plymouth AM helps Little Stitches of Hope donating Serger sewing machines. They also delivered dresses to a school in Ghana.
"For a child to get a dress like this, this will be their Sunday go-to-church dress. It will be very, very special to them and also for the little boys," said Jeanne Knopf Deroche of the Rotary Club of Plymouth AM. "A little bit of our time, a little bit of our money, makes such a big difference."
Little Stitches of Hope is always looking for donations especially pillow cases and material they can use to make the clothes. The group prefers 100 percent cotton or cotton polyester material.
Little Stitches of Hope
Canton Club 55+
Summit On the Park
46000 Summit Pkwy
Canton, MI 48188