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"Paying it Forward" with Burp Cloths!

Every Thursday afternoon and Friday morning we gather at CarePoint Ministry Center with our Advanced Project students - the ladies who completed the Sewing Basics course this summer. These women have built relationships with one another as they stitched their way through four beginner projects. Now, they enter the sewing room every week as a bonded group, full of joy and positive energy as they progress toward more advanced skills. But for our first project of this semester we kept it simple so that we could give back to a very special place in our community.

CarePoint opened in August to serve the Refugee community in South Tulsa and Jenks, a bedroom community where most of the Zomi tribe of Burma have settled. The mission of CarePoint is to "serve the students and families of Jenks Public Schools and the community by providing resources and programs to meet physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs as we share the love and hope that is found in Christ". The center serves as the primary clothing closet for Jenks Public Schools, its students and their families and has classroom space utilized for educational opportunities. The classroom space is where we hold all four of our sewing classes, and the center has generously provided us with storage space for our vast and growing supply of fabric, patterns, supplies, thread, cutting and ironing boards.

Many of the clients that come to CarePoint have infants, and yet the center is always in need of items like bibs, burp cloths, onesies and baby blankets. One of our A.P. instructors came up with an idea to have the women stitch simple burp cloths from some beautiful flannel squares that were donated to us. The women, almost all of whom have infants, would keep one and then give one to the clients of CarePoint. The women made the first one in class and then took flannel home to stitch one on their new Brother Project Runway sewing machines they purchased at the end of the Sewing Basics class. We received these machines through a grant from The Sewing Machine Project, an organization that gives machines to serve groups of individuals whose lives can be improved through sewing. Their Community Sewing Program gave us 25 Brother machines, and these were used to provide our students the opportunity to purchase a machine for $25 after completing the Sewing Basics class. Since we have been given so much - a space to work, fabric for teaching projects, and donors who help fund our program, we thought it was fitting to give something back to our community.

The women carefully and creatively stitched each cloth, utilizing the variety of stitch options on their new sewing machines. It was a joy to hand these sweet gifts over to Kara, the director at CarePoint. And for the women, it was a project that reminded them of how the skill of sewing can be used to bless others.

If you are in Tulsa and would like to donate fabric, you can drop off your donations at CarePoint, 2914 E. 91st St. in Tulsa. If you would like to make a donation for fabric or sewing supplies, click here.

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