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Orphans looking out for each other in Jacmel, Haiti

Get thee to thy stashes, costumers of the world, Haiti still needs you!

On my trip last summer, I discovered that a couple of the orphanages were asking for donations of fabric. Now this, I knew, was a place where we could help, a great opportunity to clear out your stash and get rid of offcuts and buying mistakes to that very good home that you always knew was out there somewhere.

Well, here, for the first time, is that all-important address:

Marlaine Alix
1299 SW Kalevala Drive
Port St Lucie, FL 34953
United States of America

Marlaine is teaching the kids at her Faith and Love Orphanage in Jacmel to make tote bags to sell. It's brilliant: not only does that go some way to making the orphanage self-supporting, but it teaches the children a skill and a useful trade that they can benefit from later, in order to begin rebuilding their economy and their community.

This is one of Marlaine's orphans. During a long, noisy play session, she saw me sitting off to the side of the room and, without addressing me or engaging me at all, quietly came and sat next to me. Then she rested her head on my lap, and fell asleep. This was my favourite moment of the whole trip: highly sensitive types can always spot each other. [Photo by Hannah Milton, used with permission]
Marlaine told me that they can use anything you've got - if you send scraps, she'll teach them to make quilts! Additionally, I'm sure she'd appreciate thread, needles, and spare notions, and they do use some sewing machines, so supplies like generic sewing machine needles would be welcome too, I'm sure.

The reason for the long delay is that I made a fantastic video with Marlaine in June in which she herself explained all about the orphanage, all about sewing the bags, why they were doing it and what exactly she needed. I thought it'd be awesome if she could speak to all of you directly.

Well, when I got back to England, I had a ton of little videos, and some of them turned out fine, but some of them would not play at all... including the crucial one with Marlaine. I have tried and tried with great frustration to get it working, and consulted someone who really knows this stuff (thank you Jeremy and Laurie), and he also could not fix them, so I have finally had to admit defeat.

On the positive side, we are now at a time of year when people are clearing out and re-organising, so hopefully there is lots of fabric to be had. So, get thee to thy stashes, costumers of the world, Haiti still needs you!

PS. In a few days I'll have a second address for you, but the second place needs more specific things, so if you have decent lengths, a few yards perhaps, of summerweight cotton or linen to donate, keep them back for now!



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Great! :)
Feb. 26th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
Fabric for tote bags
I have 4 boxes of upholstery samples (usually 18x18) that could be used to make tote bags. They are not super heavy and are already serged round the edges. They were dropped off by a local nun who was doing tote bags with them. If I ship them, would they get used?

Mar. 1st, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Fabric for tote bags
I'm certain they would!
Mar. 1st, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Fabric for tote bags
We just sent a 24" cube of pieces - it weighs about 40 kg. There are some nice brocades and velours, so they can make some pretty things.
Mar. 2nd, 2013 05:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Fabric for tote bags
That's fantastic, thank you very much indeed!
Feb. 26th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Gonna boost the be-Jeebus out of the bandwidth on this one. I know a lot of costumers apparently... ;)
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Feb. 26th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
I'll let the troops know.

As I'm a bit far away to send stash (by the time I've paid postage I might as well have bought the stuff there), is there any way I can buy one of the finished bags?
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Good question! I'll ask.
Nov. 25th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
I'm in the Navy and stationed in Bahrain! This is great to know.
Feb. 26th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Feb. 26th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
So I know it says anything, but even triangle scraps of holographic foil spandex? How big would you ideally want the scraps to be?
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Sure, why not! I'm guessing, but I suppose anything over about 4" square would be welcomed!
Feb. 27th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
fabric for Haiti
Can they take sny synthetics, perhaps for their bags if not clothing? What is the minimum size for a piece of fabric?

Beth Robey
Springfield OH
Mar. 1st, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Re: fabric for Haiti
Hi Beth, synthetics are fine for this address, and I'm guessing, but I suppose anything over about 4" square would be welcomed!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, much appreciated!
Mar. 6th, 2013 10:16 am (UTC)
Fabric Scraps and hab'y
Hi, We've added a link to this on our FB page and will certainly be sending a box of bits from the Vena Cava Design stash. Keep us posted! Looks like a very practical and worthwhile cause.
Mar. 7th, 2013 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Fabric Scraps and hab'y
Fantastic, thank you Liz!
Jo Cobb
Mar. 6th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
Fabric for Haiti
I'd love to donate my scraps, but I'm in the UK and just can't afford to post it that far, if there is a UK collection point then I would be interested. Such a shame that fabric is so heavy!
Jul. 23rd, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
Just passed by this link.
Is she still taking fabric donations?
Jul. 23rd, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
fabric/notions for haiti
i am going to be down sizing in the next month and wanted to know if the address for marlaine in port st lucie fl is still a good to ship to. Would like to have her make use of what i don't need. thanks Norma
Jan. 2nd, 2014 12:03 pm (UTC)
Re: fabric/notions for haiti
I will check and get back to you!
Jan. 5th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: fabric/notions for haiti
Hi Norma, I've had a reply from Marlaine and yes, the address is still current and she'd be delighted to receive anything you're willing to send! FYI, this is what she said:

"We appreciate so much the way that you are supporting us . Yes, from time to time we found people sending some supplies that we use either to make purse or do other things. The girls would like to put curtains in their room and there are many things that we could use fabrics and supplies to make, so as long as people would like to donate will be so helpful. Children clothes and underwears, diapers are always welcome as well as bathing soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and any daily used. This year we will start collecting non perishable foods as snacks and peanut butter to help with children at one of our schools at the remote mountain area where children keep coming to school with an empty stomach. Best regards and Happy New Year! "
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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