When Susan Doellinger learned that her husband, Pastor Paul Doellinger, was traveling to Haiti with Food For The Poor, she wanted to make a contribution, to help children in need.
In a recent conversation with me, Susan said that she has a friend who’s a great seamstress. Her friend had a simple dress pattern that she had used to make dresses for girls in Africa. Susan decided that she could do the same for Haitian girls.
“My initial goal was to make 25 dresses,” she said, but she decided to make more dresses in case there were more than 25 girls at the places they visited. She made 41 dresses in July, and she recruited some friends from her parish, Peace Lutheran Church in Salem, Ore., to help her, and ended up with 61 dresses, each taking an hour to make. Some of the dresses were made from donated pillowcases, thus the name. Others, said Susan, were made from half a yard of fabric.
In fact, said Pr. Paul, there were 45 girls living at the Angels Of Hope-sponsored orphanage, Maison Notre Dame de Lourdes, in Port-au-Prince who were in need of new clothing. He and other members of Food For The Poor’s Speakers Bureau visited the home in late August, and they distributed the dresses.
Pr. Paul said that when he and the other speakers arrived at the orphanage, they laid out the dresses on a counter in size order, so that the girls could choose their own, with the help of the orphanage staff.
“They were very excited to pose with them on,” said Pr. Paul, who has been a speaker with Food For The Poor since 2011. Some of the girls immediately put their new dresses on over their clothes.
Susan Doellinger said she enjoyed making the dresses.
“If there’s another trip, I would like to do it again,” she said.