In Richland, Catholics sew for Haitian children

At the parish center in Richland, Sandy Sobaski sews shorts to send to Haiti.

Seventeen people gathered to help orphan boys in Haiti by sewing shorts for them on a summer day. The volunteers answered a request from a former Richland parishioner, Mary Jo Sobaski Gruneich, for a second round of sewing for Haiti this year.
Mother Cabrini Parish Center in Richland became a giant sewing studio with people at sewing machines, cutting tables, ironing boards and a detailing center. The group worked from kits that had been preassembled and sewed 51 pairs of shorts during the session. Volunteers took home another 100 kits the cutters had assembled to finish sewing this summer.
Last summer the group, which has grown by at least seven people, made 200 dresses for orphans in Haiti.
The request for this effort came a year ago when Sobaski Gruneich wintered in Arizona, where a group of seamstresses undertook the project.  A member of this Arizona group has two adult family members who go to Haiti and deliver the clothes while working in the country four months each year.
The Ss. Joseph & Cabrini group members brought in donated supplies including fabric, elastic and thread to cut out and make more kits and T-shirts to go with the shorts. Sobaski Gruneich collected supplies from her neighborhood in Bettendorf.
“With every pair of shorts I make, I get a special feeling about some little child who has nothing and think how much he will appreciate this gift,” said volunteer Isy Leppert.
St. Mary Parish in Sigourney has joined the effort as well. Parishioners brought 50 jumpers and T-shirts to the June sewing event. The Catholics also took 24 kits back to their parish group to construct shorts before the end of the summer.
“I would have never guessed there would be so much enthusiasm for this project,” Sobaski Gruneich said. “I’m impressed with the volunteerism of our churches here in southeast Iowa.”

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