Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a classroom at the Shepherd of the Hills church, a group of women come together to stitch clothing items.
These women aren’t making clothes for themselves but rather for those around the world in need of what most would consider basic essentials.
The group is called Stitchers of Hope and its members have operated in Fountain Hills for more than five years.
Stitchers donate the clothes they make, such as dresses and shorts, to churches in the community that are going on mission trips to developing countries.
Most recently the group donated 510 hygiene kits,
352 pairs of boys’ shorts, 400 girls’ dresses and a suitcase of fabric to Christ Church of Fountain Hills’ mission trip to Uganda.
Stitchers didn’t start off producing that much clothing, however. It took original founder Eileen Danko finding a partner in Wendy Dachel.
“Three years ago was when we stepped up to meeting once a week,” Danko said. “I was praying for a leader and then Wendy arrived.”
When Dachel arrived and the Stitchers started to meet weekly, they focused their time on the tedious process to make hygiene kits.
Danko believes that of all the items they make, the hygiene kit might be the most needed.
“The thing that is most in demand, the thing most needed in the third world countries, are the hygiene pads,” Danko said. “If kids don’t have them they miss school. And it is Wendy’s and my passion to see the girls get educated and stay in school.”
The focus on hygiene kits, though, doesn’t prevent the group from getting other articles of clothing made.
“Everyone here has their own passion. For me, my passion is the hygiene kits,” Dachelsaid. “But there are women who, during the week at home, will sew five dresses. So when we meet we mostly work on the hygiene kits but a lot of work on other items gets done at home.”
Stitchers of Hope members are also able to produce as much clothing as they do because of generous donations they receive from the community.
Places like Fountain View Village have donated fabric and the Fountain Hills Rotary club has donated sewing machines to the group.
“When we started out we got donations of old flannel sheets and we’d use that for the hygiene kits,” Dachelexplained. “Luckily, we eventually got donations of money and have been able to purchase a lot of the most important fabric.”
Stitchers of Hope is a religious group but its members are not tied to one parish. Instead, the group wants to help any church that is going on a mission.
“(The Church) can reach out to any of us or stop by any Wednesday to meet us,” Danko said. “We always like to meet in person so we can show them how this works and then ask them questions. Also, we appreciate as much advance notice as possible.”
To ask the Stitchers of Hope to make clothing for a mission trip, contact Wendy Dachelatwendydoc@aol.com or Eileen Danko at firstname.lastname@example.org/480-220-8329; or Joan Pittsenbarger at email@example.com/602-677-1619.
Donations to the group can be dropped off at Christ Church of Fountain Hills or be made online at returnhope.com.