In seven years, local group has made thousands of items for children, women
By Kara Hallissey, Staff Writer
(April 12, 2018) Since 2011, Barbara Entwistle and her Pillowcase Ministry Mission has created thousands of dresses and shorts out of pillowcases for children in third world countries in addition to putting together and helping to distribute market bags, kitchen and shower kits to those in need.
The group’s next work session and meeting is on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Berlin Library.
“Missionaries tell us over and over again that these things are able to make a big difference in the lives of families there,” Entwistle said. “They go back to the same small and remote villages. The biggest messages we get is when the missionary comes back [and says] ‘you didn’t forget us.’”
Thousands of pillowcase dresses and shorts have been made and delivered to children in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, Mexico, Israel, Panama, Uganda, the Gambia in West Africa and in the last couple of months, Micronesia.
“The kitchen kits started [in the summer of 2015] when we asked the missionaries if there was anything else they needed,” Entwistle said. “The nice thing is we meet with the missionaries and they come down from time to time and pick up what we are making. I have made so many new friends and the best part is we know where our things are going.”
Kitchen kits consist of pot holders, soap, dishcloths, towels, scrubbers and sponges.
“One of our missionaries went to a village in the Dominican Republic and they had nothing to cook with and were cleaning the pots they had with their fingernails,” Entwistle said. “In our kits to Panama, we include extra oven mitts for the young girls because a lot of them have burns on their hands.”
In the summer of 2016, shower kits started being complied, which includes a huge bar of soap and a wash cloth in a Ziploc baggie.
“A bar of soup is a luxury to them,” Entwistle said. “Market bags are also really big. They are made from T-shirts and cloth. They have a bigger handle and you can slip them over your shoulder.”
Entwistle said those in need would have their arms full of necessities after leaving a distribution center, but could not carry all the items and people would steal what was dropped.
“With the market bags, they hand out a bar of soup, toothbrush, toothpaste and flip-flops all in the reusable bag,” Entwistle said.
The Pillowcase Ministry has grown from creating pillowcase dresses and shorts to market bags, backpacks, shower and feminine kits, in addition to sleep mats.
To date, more than 3,700 dresses, 1,500 shorts and 2,700 market bags have been created and distributed to children and families in impoverished nations.
The idea first came about when Entwistle was researching service projects with her local Girl Scout troop and she discovered Rachel O’Neill, founder of Little Dresses for Africa, a nonprofit Christian organization established in 2007 that distributes dresses made of pillowcases throughout many parts of Africa.
The project has grown tremendously throughout the seven years in operation and will continue to be a resource for underprivileged children in third world countries.
A work session and meeting is slated for Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Berlin Library. Currently, there are about 40 active members.
“There will be new women at the workshop who wanted to join the group and they will see a little bit of everything,” Entwistle said. “I will show them how to make dresses and there will be supplies for kitchen kits if they would rather put them together instead of sewing.”
For information on making pillowcase dresses or donating supplies, contact Entwistle at 443-944-5868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.