Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fabric Drive to help the African Community Center

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Ashley from the African Community Center of Denver - she was hoping to find some better craft shows in the area and I have been to a few! Ashley runs a sewing class at the ACC in Denver who teaches refugees how to sew. They make wallets, computer cases, pillowcases and handbags and sell them at local craft shows. I had a really nice conversation with Ashley and found out they run almost exclusively on donations which allows the most profit to go to the women who are working.

"We Made This is an income generating project at the African Community Center. ACC, which enables men and women in the refugee community to work together to create 100% recycled hand-sewn items. In an effort to learn new skills, work, and become a part of the community , we sew these items from recycled fabric donated to our center. Through the project, we learn and develop employable skills and create a sustainable community together.

We are working as a collective. From the person who sews the bag to the person who delivers the items to the store, we all get a percentage of the cost of this bag. Proceeds support a special refugee fund for the We Made This project and participants."

Check out their website here.

This week I went to visit and drop off some fabric and an extra sewing machine that I couldn't use. It was really cool to see the room they sew in, meet some of the ladies and watch them work!
Sewing Room at the African Community Center

Rachel teaching the ladies how to sew from a pattern

Tons of cool "vintage" sewing machines in use at the ACC.

Some of the beautiful items they have been making!

As I mentioned before, they run almost exclusively on donations so they can pass the profit on to the refugees, most of whom are on government assistance and can use every bit of help they can get.

Here is where YOU come in! I would love to encourage you to donate supplies, gift cards, or just some good vibes to the African Community Center! Below is a list of supplies they could use - I will be gathering these supplies until the end of February along with other members of the Denver Handmade Alliance. I would love it if you would join in!

• Cotton Fabric (no knits or decorator fabric)
• Needles (machine and hand stitching)
• Thread (all colors)
• Rotary Cutters & Blades
• Sewing Measuring Tapes
• Quilting Batting
• Buttons
• Self-Healing Boards
• Interfacing
• Extension Cords
• Sewing Machines (broken & older ones are okay!)
• Gift Cards to Joann Fabrics & Hancock Fabrics

If you have any of these items that you would be willing to donate, please let me know! If you are local, you can drop them off at my house or I can pick them up. If you are not local to Denver and still want to help, you can send items to me or straight to the ACC. Contact me through my Facebook page for my address or for more information!

I'm so excited about the opportunity to help this organization and these women! I know our crafting community can come together and really make a difference!


p.s. on another exciting note, there is a good chance I will be hiring one of their graduates to come and work for me once my basement studio is finished! I got to meet her at my visit and I can't WAIT to see how it goes!


Jennifer said...

Jesi- you are a true angel. Thank you for your kind heart and kind words about our program. We are indebted to you for your generosity! This program brings hope to these women, and gives them a sense of worth--as well as some real income to help them support their families. Some of them have never earned money before- and this empowers them to feel they can contribute and CREATE something of beauty at the same time. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your support!
Best, Jennifer Gueddiche, ACC Director

Pat said...

That is so great! I'm very impressed with what you are all doing - I'll see what we can find here in the Grand Rapids area to help you out.