Group turns hobby into providing essentials for women
Published 3:50 pm Monday, October 17, 2022
By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor
A group of Chilton County women have turned a hobby into a way to provide empowering opportunities to women in other countries.
The sewing group of United Women in Faith at Clanton First United Methodist Church creates feminine product kits for women who do not have access to pads or tampons. Some have access to pads, but the products they had access to are poor quality.
“We have sent some to Africa, and we have sent some to Haiti,” Pam Koons, who serves as president for the group, said.
Nancy Bentley said many women “had to drop out of school, they could not compete their finals … Women could not keep a job because of that monthly issue, so it became paralyzing for the women.”
After Bentley read an article about this issue and a way to help, she wanted to be a part of the solution.
Bentley discussed the need with Linda O’Rear, who researched how to make the kits.
Each kit comes in a colorful drawstring bag. It includes eight washable, reusable fabric liners, two specialized holders for the liners that are snapped into around underwear for use, washcloth, soap, a 10-foot piece of clothesline and clothes pins. Polyurethane laminate is used in the pad holder to create a water proof barrier.
While some members of the group have gone on trips for distribution, most of the dignity kits are delivered through a missionary partner, O’Rear said.
Funding to purchase underwear is also provided to the missionary delivering the kits because some of the women can not afford this.
The kit will “last up to three years because we are reinforcing and doing it well,” Bentley said.
The kits have created excitement for women in other countries when they are handed out.
“We all just feel like it’s a blessing for whoever gets them,” Koons said. “We don’t know who gets them. We don’t know these people. Whoever gets it we just hope that it is a blessing.”
The group averages 45-50 of the kits per year. The group has been creating kits since 2017, meeting twice a month except for during the summer and when the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions kept them from meeting.
Koons said the meetings are also a “meaningful time of fellowship.”
Patti Kennedy said also she has enjoyed the friendship that has build among the women while working on the project as well as the chance to do something for someone else.
Some members of the group continue work on their portion of the project at home, but it takes a couple of months to get a batch of kits complete.
This was the first sewing project the group had taken on in Koon’s tenure.
“The first year was just really learning how because there are a lot of steps to it,” Koons said
She said it was hard to imagine being in a country without access to pads or tampons.
Christa Owen heard about the project at the recent the women’s conference at the church. She was new to the area and thought the sewing group would be a good fit for her.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I like to find stuff to do,” Owen said. “When I heard this mission, what woman wouldn’t want to support and help this mission if we can?”
Growing the group would be a way to grow the impact of meeting the need.
Anyone interested in joining the United Women in Faith group or wanting information about starting their own sewing group for this project can contact the church office at 205-755-0490
or Koons at 678-860-0983.