Shepherd of the Valley resident sewing for a good cause, donatio - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Shepherd of the Valley resident sewing for a good cause, donations accepted

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An 83-year-old Shepherd of the Valley resident is keeping kids warm all over the world with her sewing machine. 

Harlene Huffstetler says she wanted an area to keep busy sewing when she moved into the assisted living residence in Niles.

Harlene says her love for sewing wasn't just a hobby but a ministry for children in need.

After retiring from the banking industry, she started helping her friend make dresses for children through the San Felix Mission in Panama. That friend was unable to make dresses because of her arthritis, so that's when Harlene took over the ministry.

Staff at Shepherd of the Valley says Harlene and some friends have been making pillowcase dresses to send overseas for little girls to wear and enjoy.

Each dress takes about a yard of fabric. She usually gets her materials from church members or she stops at garage sales to find what she needs. She likes to add little details to each dress like a pocket or ruffle when she has extra material.

Harlene also uses her sewing machine to make teddy bears for local police departments.

The bears are intended for children who are exposed to traumatic situations. She is overwhelmed by the number of sad situations involving children she hears about in the news. She hopes that her bears comfort children who have experienced trauma.

"Just because I am old doesn't mean my mind is dead," she tells Shepherd's staff.

Shepherd of the Valley is hosting a fabric and notions drive through August 31 to help support Harlene's mission.

The Valley will be collecting:

  • Fabric (specifically cotton for the dresses
  • Bias tape
  • Ribbon and ricrac trim
  • White thread
  • Schmetz universal sewing machine needles
  • Hangers

Donations can be dropped off at any Shepherd of the Valley community between 8:30 am and 8 p.m. Drop-off hours for the corporate offices are 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information on how you can help, contact Danielle Procopio at (330) 530-4038.

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