By Emily Drayne
Sandra Ward has an amazing heart. She saw children wearing next to nothing, found a simple tie dress, and thought, Hey, I can make that myself! With that, she founded Sew to Sow. Based out of Kernersville, North Carolina, and affiliated with First Christian, Kernersville, this ministry provides handmade outfits for children sizes 16 and under. The first batch of outfits was sent to Brazil in 2013, and the dressmaking has continued since then.
I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with this group and I was impressed by the quality of the outfits, their love for the Lord, and their passion for the children of the world.
In just over four years, this ministry has sent more than 8,100 outfits to children around the world! Everything this ministry does is donated—time, money, fabric, sewing machines, and talents. Sew to Sow gives these outfits to any person or organization in need. The only request is that the organization or missionary cover shipping.
Sew to Sow has more than 40 volunteers. Teams include sewers, bargain shoppers, baggers/taggers, organizers, and those who match up outfits. When outfits are completed, they are placed in Ziploc bags that are labeled to indicate gender and size. The bags are then shelved by sizes. The walls are lined with cabinets filled with outfits that are ready to be shipped.
The boys’ clothing is purchased by ministry volunteers from stores; outfits vary from polos and jeans to T-shirts and basketball-type shorts. For the girls, tie dresses are all handmade with colorful patterns. Another type of outfit for girls is offered in parts of the world where women dress more conservatively: a handmade skirt with accompanying shirt (and sometimes leggings for colder months).
When the outfits are ready to ship, the women gather to pray over them. They pray for the missionaries and children who are receiving the outfits; they also pray for more opportunities to send outfits to those in need. Hearing the women pray for the children and their families is touching. The Sew to Sow Facebook page is full of pictures and stories of the people who have been blessed by this ministry. Nothing compares to seeing a child’s face light up upon receiving an outfit!
This ministry started with one woman’s vision to use her talents to bless others, and it is now spreading the love of Christ to children and families all over the world. It’s a great example of how you can “sew” seeds and bloom where you’re planted.
Emily Drayne lives in North Carolina and has served with the International Conference on Missions for six years.