July has been an incredibly busy month and as I write this I reflect on how we have grown throughout the past three years. Three years ago we met for a few months within people’s homes – and I would bring everything in and then most houses just wouldn’t fit the number of sewing machines or women. We then moved for a few months into the Grant Cameron Community Centre until, fortuitously, I stopped my retirement and came to work at SHOUT!
Luckily at SHOUT we have a meeting room (now upgraded to further meet our needs – cough) – and better yet – storage! So no longer do I pack my car to the headrests and higher (sorry for that Mr Policeman) … we ‘simply’ take several loads of boxes out of storage into the meeting room where we have enough room for 12 sewing machines and a row of tables can be made into a packing machine worked with willing hands and lovely chatter. How far we have come!
I am not really religious – but I do believe that it has all come together in rather a miraculous way!
And today I am going to talk about my gorgeous volunteers: I am delighted to say they come from all walks of life, and everyone is totally accepted. We are inclusive, friendly and enjoy our days spent sewing up a storm, be it clothes or kits, or packing the DFG kits. There is always busy activity but no stress – it is a place of acceptance and kindness. And I am totally in awe of the amazing women we attract to the cause.
I am also so thankful for Leonie for managing beautifully the packing of the DFG Kits area – it just is so good that I can leave it in her capable hands and she is so lovely with everyone. Leonie you are a gem!!
Gill is always working in the background – dyeing undies, washers and flannelette which is too light, preparing the bags for sewing and tracing the shields and pockets. I love she says goodie!! when I deliver yet another bag/s of fabric or dyeing!
And Sue and Ron who cut all the dresses and shorts and have done so now for over two years – this has been an incredible help to me – as in the beginning I was trying to keep up with it all!! Her work is wonderful…. we have filled one of her rooms with fabric – that is a true friend.
And Ron who did two years of hotspot overlocking, sewing and cutting …. who did it so consistently – we are missing him as he is having a well deserved break …. the overlocker is waiting for you Ron when you decide to return – never say never!!
Also thank you to Liz who has taken over the duties of snap machine guru – for the DFG shields and Flick who takes care of our PUL cutting – both of which I was trying to do (badly).
I would also like to thank all the amazing ladies who turn up every month for the sewing and packing days – who are so amazing and strong in their resolve for us to do something for those in need. They keep us supplied in undies, washers and soaps and they are all valued beyond measure! I am grateful to you all – thank you.
And to our home sewers – far and wide – we have ladies all over Australia who sew for us – and send through the clothes and DFG kits. I have not met most of you – but I am so grateful for your time and energy – you are amazing.
Thank you also for donations across Australia – for funds and for items …. without your support we could not do what we do. Thank you to CWA for supporting us so strongly – it makes such a difference!
I also want to thank our wonderful people on the ground – the negotiations, time and the consistency needed to get the clothes and DFG kits to those who need them is astonishing – and yet this is where all the volunteers above help me so much – I spend most of my time working through the issues and negotiating with 16 (at last count) countries – all are different and all take time – and all are so worthwhile.
Thank you to:
- Ednah – Vanuatu
- Gideon – Tanzania
- Lubna – Pakistan
- Lucette – Vietnam
- Melanie – Papua New Guinea
- Simon and Jann – Kenya
- Steve and Margie – Kiisi Kenya
- Victoria – Zimbabwe
- Gwen – Philippines
- Sue – Solomon Islands
- Fountain of Peace – Uganda
- Oz Blaydon – Nepal
- Project Didi – Nepal
Sadly we have had to day goodbye to a few volunteers lately and we will miss them so much. Goodbye to Sue Dawes and Ray MacNeill who both passed away suddenly recently – Sue came to several sewing days and enjoyed packing kits. Ray was an amazing friend and photographer – who we will miss, more than he will ever know.
This month we:
- Finally packed and are ready to send the two boxes of clothes to Tanzania – 33 dresses and 26 short sets
- Have packed and are ready for pick up for the refugee project – 127 kits
- Have packed kits for Vanuatu and the YWAM ship leaving from Townsville
- Have sent 18 kits, and various other items to Pakistan in two boxes
Thank you for your amazing support – we are doing really well – and I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our amazing team.