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Area Seniors Create Dresses for Haitian Orphans

By Nancy Leighton
Several nearby senior citizens’ centers have participated in an effort to make dresses for Haitian orphan girls. The dresses were made for the Haiti Care Mission based in Clearwater Florida. From the Helene Mills Multi-purpose Senior Center, located six blocks north of Oakland Cemetery, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Lila Womack spearheaded a dressmaking project. Ms. Womack enlisted the help of several senior centers in Atlanta, including The Southeast Neighborhood Senior Center off McDonough Boulevard. She also recruited students from local high schools and colleges to form a production crew for making the dresses.
The dresses were designed with the idea that a manufactured pillow case could be cut up to make a simple and adjustable dress that could fit girls of various ages and sizes. This design has been made for four or five decades and is often used by groups as a service project to send ready-to-wear clothing to various charities throughout the world.
The needs of poor and orphaned children in Haiti have been a serious problem for generations. The massive devastation of the earthquake two years ago magnified the numbers and problems of children in poverty there.
Volunteers in the Atlanta area created 5,000 dresses that went to Haiti Care Mission. Members of the Southeast Neighborhood Senior Center made 75 dresses and further provided 150 pairs of new pillow cases for the effort. Other senior centers and Ms. Womack’s group at The Helene Mills Center put together the rest of the dresses.
The Haiti Care Mission has received boxes of dresses and other project contributions from all over the United States. They would be happy to receive more dresses from individuals or sewing groups in the future. The dress pattern and several other patterns are on their website:, along with additional information about the organization. It is not necessary to create large numbers of dresses to send them. A flat rate postage box will easily hold ten or more of the small dresses. The Haiti Care Mission will distribute the dresses to several missions throughout Haiti.
Anyone can use the dress pattern to make clothes for their own children or for any service project they choose.

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