I received a phone call this week from a woman who had read about the Sewing Machine Project in the newspaper. “Wow, I had a hard time tracking you down!”, she said. Apparently, she’d called the paper, called a collection site, talked with the reporter who had written the piece. Finally, my phone rang and there we were.

At 88 years old, Eileen was ready to donate her beautiful sewing machine to our efforts, but she needed to qualify a few things first. Would it be used in this country? Where would it be used? What types of groups receive our machines? I assured her that it would indeed be used here in the US, most likely in the New Orleans area. “Well then,” she said “you’re welcome to my machine.”

So I stopped by her house to pick it up. It is an older Singer, a professional model, and quite heavy. I went into her basement to bring it up, its weight being just too much for her at this age. She invited me to sit down in her sunny kitchen and talk for awhile. We learned about one another. She’d been a home ec teacher for years. Although sewing wasn’t her forte, she was required to teach it and this was her “teaching machine”.

I told her about the Sewing Machine Project. I told her how it had begun. I told her how it had changed my life to create and lead this effort. And in our talking I felt blessed. Blessed to meet her, blessed to share this story, blessed to have this opportunity to meet so many people–giving machines, receiving machines, people involved in every facet of this organization.

When I left her home that afternoon I had to sit a moment out in my car and say a quiet “thank you” for the inspiration, for the people, for the kindness that I feel each and every day surrounding this organization. And every person reading this is a part of what this is. So thank you, and know how lucky I feel.

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