‘Bag Ladies’ sewing group in Citronelle helps Shoe Box Ministry
(Courtesy of Eva Hendrix)
CITRONELLE, Alabama They call themselves “the Bag Ladies of Memorial Baptist Church” in Citronelle and their motto is “Sew you go.”
The group of women, led by Hazel Gray, meets every other Wednesday to make drawstring fabric bags to be placed in the shoeboxes filled with toys that are shipped to Third World countries as part of Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Ministry, a project of Samaritan Purse.
It all started about five years ago, according to spokesperson Eva Hendr burberry outlet ix.
For several years, the burberry outlet church had been participating in the Shoe Box Ministry, and about 2006, “Hazel received a letter asking for volunteers to come to Atlanta to work in a warehouse checking the shoe boxes before they were shipped,” Hendrix said.
Since then, four to eight women from the church have made the journ burberry outlet ey to Atlanta the week after Thanksgiving, spending two or three days removing such items as shampoo liquids cannot be included weapon type toys and other forbidden pieces.
“It hard to explain how checking shoe boxes can be a blessing, but we get a wonderful blessing working in that warehouse,” Hendrix said.
Removing items, however, left empty space in the boxes. And though some retailers donate small items to take up the slack, and some volunteers bring toys with them, the packages often need additional goods.
That where the drawstring bags come in. “After our trip last year, Hazel got the idea of making the bags” so children halfway around the globe would have something of their very own to hold their treasures, Hendrix said. They each bring a dish for a potluck lunch. Some bring their sewing machines. One has a serger to fortify the seams of fabrics that might ravel.
Starting with just the women who make the trip to Atlanta, the group now has more than a dozen different women who have volunteered, though there are usually just four or five at each meeting at Memorial Baptist. in the core group are Hazel Gray, Tweety Miller, Peggy Hall, Hendrix, Gartman, Eunice Green and Roselle Schaniel. Others who come regularly to help are Margaret Loomis, Cynthia Miller, Renee Sellers, Jean Evans, Mary Sue Lofton, Jo Nichols and Debbie Miller.
Their goal was to complete 500 bags this year. But when they had finished those, they set another goal 1,000, then 1,500. As of the third week of September, the Bag Ladies had made 2,550 drawstring bags to take to Atlanta.
And so far, their expenses have been next to nothing.
“We asked people to donate material that they were not going to use,” Hendrix said. “I asked the home economics teacher at Citronelle High School to save her scraps. And I asked my quilting friends for theirs.”
One person had several bins of upholstery samples that she contributed, and Gray even got a bolt of fabric for a birthday present.
“We would tell people about our project and they would clean out their closets and bring us fabric or ribbon,” Hendrix said.
It didn matter that much if the scraps they received were smaller than the size needed for their standard bag. Gartman took the pieces home with her and sewed them together to make “designer bag burberry outlet s,” Hendrix said.