Sewing circle stitches for Nicaraguan poor

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 08:25 PM

When a delegation of the faithful from Pocket Presbyterian Church and Goldston United Methodist Church leave North Carolina for Nicaragua on Monday, they’ll be toting several large suitcases filled to the brim with items that could serve practical, social and even crime-fighting purposes.

A group of women from Pocket Presbyterian, located off of Steel Bridge Road in Lee County, has been working day and night to sew clothes for the trip for months. Using nothing but donated material — everything from pieces of cloth to large men’s dress shirts, tablecloths, pillow cases and even chicken feed sacks — the ladies stitched together more than 150 dresses and other garments.

The supplies will be taken to the Central American country sandwiched between Honduras and Costa Rica, which is about 3,000 square miles smaller than North Carolina.

The conversation at Pocket Presbyterian on Friday, when the women were finishing packing the suitcases for another trip, focused around the kidnapping of young girls by slavery and sex trafficking rings in Nicaragua.

Apparently in Nicaragua, said the the sewing group’s de facto leader Zelda Howington, girls in dresses are less likely to be taken. She explained that a dress is a sign of wealth, and slavery rings generally target poor children. By giving dresses to girls from poor families, she said, the group hopes to help them avoid such a horrid future.

“That just touched our hearts,” Howington said. “I cannot stand to think of little kids being picked up and sold into slavery or what have you.”

On a lighter note, the missionary group — which is mainly comprised of younger people and won’t include any of the sewing ladies — will also work on installing water filtration systems to improve health and sanitation in some of the poorer villages. They’re bringing several suitcases stuffed with clothes, plus a dozen book bags, one suitcase filled with dental supplies and another filled with school supplies.

One of the sewing ladies, Carol Cox, said she liked being in the group because it’s a good outlet for fun and fellowship that also helps a poor and vulnerable population. This is actually the third time a group of women from the church has sewn clothes for this Nicaragua trip, although it’s by far the most they’ve made yet, they all agreed. And once this batch is loaded on a plane headed to Central America, they’ll start on another batch of clothes for a mission trip in November.

One of the women, Gaynelle Cox, said the trip seems to really touch those who come back from it and share their experiences with fellow church-goers, which she said is part of the reason they’re all so dedicated although they’ve never been to the country. Many of those who make the journey, she said, end up donating all the belongings they brought for themselves in addition to the things they intended to donate.

“One of the girls that came and spoke said she only same back with the clothes on her back,” Cox said.

The sewing group consists of Howington, Cox, Sylvia Watson, Laura Thompson, Marie Wicker, Carol Cox, Lib Thomas and Bernice Price.