Lately I have felt more than a little overwhelmed by the news. The sad,tragic parts of the news which most of the time displays imagery beyond comprehension. The graphicness of reporting is heartbreaking. I must confess I understand far too little of the intricacies of the warring which seems to be so rampant in much of our world.
For some of the time. I turn it off. Other times I look away. But, it's there. Those children,innocent people and the sheer inhumanity of how people are treating each other.
It is hard to know what to do. It is hard to know if one person can actually make any difference. It is hard not to just become immune and live in a little world which ignores what is happening. But today I was inspired by the story of a ninety nine year old woman.
Lillian Weber is on a mission.
Every day she makes another dress for a small child she’ll never meet.
“I could probably make two a day, but I only make one,” she says.
The dresses are collected and sent overseas to little girls in Africa by a Christian outreach group called “Little Dresses for Africa”.
“I have to be busy,” says Lillian.
And she’s been very busy.
In the past two years she’s made more than 840 dresses and she plans to make 150 more by May 6th of next year.
You see, by next May, Lillian will turn 100 years old and it will be her one thousandth dress.
“It’s just one of those things you learn how to do and enjoy,” she says.
In Lillian’s Scott County farm house are completed dresses for little girls, made from a pattern, but each with extra stitching and individual details, designed to give each child a little extra pride.
“She personalizes them all,” says Lillian’s daughter, Linda Purcell. “It’s not like good enough that she makes the dresses, she has to put something on the front to make it look special, to give it her touch.”
What started as a hobby has become a daily labor of love.
Lillian says she starts work on a dress in the morning, takes a break during the midday, and puts finishing touches in the afternoon.
“I just think she’s somebody to look up to, somebody whose not just sitting around and frittering her life away,” says Tonya Urbatsch, who nominated Lillian for the “Pay It Forward” award.
“I’m amazed at her every day,” adds Linda. “I’m very, very proud of my mother.”
Family and friends will continue to be proud of Lillian, well after her 1000th dress. After all, 1000 is just a number.
“When I get to that thousand, if I’m able to. I won’t quit. I’ll go at it again because there’s no reason to not do nothing.”
When Lillian is finished with her dresses, her daughters deliver them to a Davenport senior living apartment complex where a group of residents have a weekly sewing appointment to make dresses for the charitable organization.
“Little Dresses for Africa” is a Christian charitable organization founded in 2008 in Michigan.
Its founder, Rachel O’Neill, says 2.5 million dresses have been distributed.
The simple dresses are distributed to orphanages, churches, and schools in Africa.
Rachel says she’s traveling to Africa again in September 2014 and February 2015 and hopes to be able to present to a child one of the dresses personally made by Lillian.
Amazing. And of course the viral effect of Facebook is wonderful when used in a caring compassionate way. The " Ice Bucket Challenge" has already raised enough money to fund over 10 Macmillan Nurses.
So, I have decided that every little effort can count. Every penny must surely help. Every effort might change the plight of one person. And that person will know that another human being has at least done something. Not just looked the other way.
Today was Day One of my challenge. I am not going to make a promise that I will create something every day but I am going to try to make something for charity as often as I can.
Following on from my " getting shirty post" I stopped cutting hundreds of squares and got sewing. Here is Number One cushion cover completed and ready to deliver. That's easy.... Our town is full of charity shops and this one is going to the Red Cross.
As it's Bank Holiday weekend I am hoping I will have another 2 to add to the delivery on Tuesday!
And mulling around in my head is a scheme about shirts. But, if it was to go in the smallest way viral I may be overwhelmed. The one thing I am sure of is that there are an awful lot of generous souls in Blogland and that might happen.