The Rev. Dawn Boyd, left, with Warren McGuffin.
Photo by Ginger McGuffin.
Photo below by Lucille Eichelberger.
San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church in Alamo initiated a new small group in June, Nan Misyon Ansam. Loosely translated from Haitian Creole, it means "In Mission Together." The goal of the group, led by the Rev. Dawn Boyd and layperson Donna Lindquist, is to learn about Haiti: the country, the people, their history, their needs – and what the United Methodist Church mission outreach involves, especially the outreach from our California-Nevada Annual Conference.
The group has projects to reach out in tangible ways to the people of Haiti, especially those being served by Cal-Nevada United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) groups.
Warren McGuffin, an UMVIM leader and San Ramon Valley UMC member, offered several suggestions and the group got started making dresses from pillowcases or rectangles of fabric, to be given to the girls at the school in Thomas, Haiti and through the Thomas Food Program that provides a daily hot meal to the children.
Nearly 70 people, from age eight to those in their 80s, participated, sewing at group meetings and at home. A family member of one of the seamstresses got her Baptist church involved, and they provided 29 dresses through their Women's Ministry. Grandmothers took kits (which included the fabric, trims, elastic and directions – "everything but the thread") and sewed with grandchildren. Sew-ers told friends and family members what they were doing, and then sent the information across the country as others wanted to get their own churches involved.
People who hadn't sewn in years got involved and found renewed enthusiasm in their sewing. The energy and enthusiasm has been contagious!
When Warren McGuffin and the UMVIM team left for Haiti on Sept. 25, they carried with them 200 dresses for girls, in sizes 2 through 12. Members of the Nan Misyon Ansam group made 171 of them, and can hardly wait to see pictures of the recipients! The team also is delivering T-shirts, a basketball, school supplies, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) style totes to use as school bags, and market bags for the cooks.
Dawn Boyd, email@example.com, is willing to share directions and tips if other churches or groups want to get involved in a hands-on dressmaking project. The San Ramon Valley UMC group continues to make tote bags, as school resumes in Haiti in mid-October – and will begin making shorts for the boys when the group gets together. Dressmaking will resume in January, with a plan for spring delivery.