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Dressing up Africa: FCCLA students take part in 'Little Dresses' project

junior high members Allie Herfindahl, Lilly Ness and Emma Osborne helped sew dresses.1 / 2
senior high members include Maegan Anderson, Breann Hogie and Emma Ulmer.2 / 2

Thanks to the generous donations from several local churches, six members of the Lake Park Audubon FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) chapter have been able to sew over 200 dresses for the "Little Dresses for Africa" project.

Using pillowcases and a few sewing notions, the students have made the simple pillowcases into dresses for young girls in Africa. Little girls in Africa are among the least valued members of the African culture. National-wide, these dresses are distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, over 20 volunteers spent a little over three hours in the LPA FACS classroom, embellishing the dresses with ribbon, lace, pockets, buttons and trim. The volunteers did assembly line rotations with cutting, selecting trim, pinning, sewing and pressing.

In addition to the dresses, the senior high members made twenty pillow case pajama bags for the YWCA shelter in Fargo, North Dakota. The team delivered the bags filled with pajamas and stuffed animals prior to the holiday season.

The junior high members made several beaded bracelets that will be distributed with the dresses. Some dresses will also have flip-flops packaged with dresses that correspond with their size and color.

"Our goal for sewing the dresses just kept growing," stated member Allie Herfindahl. "We started out hoping to sew 40 dresses, and then 50, and now we surprised ourselves by sewing over 130 dresses."

Members hope to send their dresses with Lake Park Lutheran Pastor Gary Erdman and his wife, Audrey, when they travel to Africa in early April.

"While the members are extremely grateful for all of the donations they have received, they are no longer accepting sewing supplies or pillowcases," stated advisor Cheryl Hogie. "We have exceeded all expectations, and now need to focus on finish packing the dresses for their distribution."