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Church women turn 'T's into diapers

DETROIT LAKES - The work of Trinity Lutheran Church's women will soon be swaddling the bottoms of children in Honduras, thanks to a donation of 800 flawed t-shirts by Lakeshirts in Detroit Lakes.

"It's a mission project that we picked up on and are doing," said Ginny Leland of Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.

The church women are transforming the donated t-shirts into cloth diapers for the Diapers for Honduras mission program. Leland said the idea was found on the internet by the church pastors, Dan Babine and Ann Newgard-Larson. There was a pattern for making the diapers from size large or larger t-shirts.

"Lakeshirts donated t-shirts to us," Leland said. "You cut them off at the arm pits and cut the hem off, and then split them and fold them a certain way and then zigzag them and serge the ends and you have this diaper."

Newgard-Larson said parishioner Michelle Daggett works at Lakeshirts and was instrumental in helping the church with the donation, for which the church is very thankful. Some of the shirts have small holes or slight flaws, which isn't a problem for making the diapers.

If the shirt has a print on it, Newgard-Larson said the print is turned to the inside so it doesn't scratch the children. The folds are done in such a way that there are three layers of material in the center part of the diaper.

All parts of the t-shirts are being used in some form, she said. Some of the fabric from the t-shirts goes to a parishioner who makes t-shirt quilts and other small pieces are saved for the Boys and Girls Club, which are then recycled.

"The smallest (size) you can use is a large so you get enough fabric to use it," said Newgard-Larson.

There has been a lot of participation in the mission project, Leland said. Some people have taken maybe a half-dozen or dozen home to work on, while others have completed over 100 diapers on their own.

Leland said she had personally made 103 diapers. She said the women got together for a work night at the church and did about 150. Pastor Newgard-Larson said one parishioner, Bonnie Mohs, is a family and consumer science teacher at Detroit Lakes High School and the Lakes Area Learning Center. Newgard-Larson said Mohs took some of the t-shirts for her students to use as projects.

Once the diapers are completed, the church will box them up to drop them off at a donation site and they will then be taken to Honduras and distributed to hospitals, clinics, and women and children who need the diapers.

The Trinity Lutheran Church project is part of the Diapers for Honduras Program that was started by two women at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, according to information from the Northeastern Minnesota Synod.

DETROIT LAKES - The women prepared the diapers for a mission trip to Honduras that year and the diapers were delivered to a large teaching hospital in the Honduras capitol, Tegucigalpa.

When the First Lady of Honduras heard about the project, she asked to meet the mission group, expressed her gratitude for the useful gift, and asked if more diapers could be given to her country.

The project grew to include the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Church of America, which has teams that travel to Honduras every year. Since 2004, more than 65,000 diapers have been delivered to Honduras. This year's shipment will include the diapers crafted by the women of Trinity Lutheran Church.

More information on the Diapers for Honduras program can be found at the Northeastern MN Synod Web site at