Sewing Machine Drive 2019!

Do you have a sewing machine hanging around unused at your house? Perhaps you know an elderly relative or friend who is no longer sewing and would like to see their beloved machine put to good use?

Give an underused sewing machine a new life!

Image description: sewing machine with text: Do you have a spare sewing machine? Let us know! We can find it a new home with a former refugee. Fabric and notions also welcome. @sacraparental

Image description: sewing machine with text: Do you have a spare sewing machine? Let us know! We can find it a new home with a former refugee. Fabric and notions also welcome. @sacraparental

My mum and I are coordinating with New Zealand Red Cross (who handle refugee resettlement for the government) to match up machines with former refugees who would love the chance to sew at home.

We’d also appreciate donations of fabric, thread, notions and so on, if you happen to have a stash going spare. Obviously most people will want to choose their own things eventually, but having some material immediately will make it easier for new owners to get started straight away.

And if you’re a handy person who can service a machine and make sure it’s in good condition, ready for its new home, your skills would be super useful!

If you can help with any of these things, please contact me at sacraparental [at] gmail [dot] com:

  • a sewing machine, preferably in good working order (but in some centres we have volunteers able to service them)
  • fabric and/or other sewing essentials like thread, scissors, pins, buttons and so on
  • checking or servicing donated machines
  • picking up donations, especially transporting from the regions to the main centres

If you can help with any of this, please contact me at sacraparental [at] gmail [dot] com. Please don’t contact your local Red Cross directly – we’re trying to save them some work by coordinating. Thank you!

Image description: sewing machine with text: Do you have a spare sewing machine? Let us know! We can find it a new home with a former refugee. Fabric and notions also welcome. @sacraparental

Image description: sewing machine with text: Do you have a spare sewing machine? Let us know! We can find it a new home with a former refugee. Fabric and notions also welcome. @sacraparental

Um, why sewing machines?

I sewed my toddler son one pair of trousers five years ago, using my Mum’s machine. That’s the last time I sewed, which is to say: this isn’t a personal passion or anything. It’s just a need we stumbled on.

My parents are regular volunteers with the Manawatū Red Cross refugee resettlement team. In 2018 they helped three families put down roots in Palmerston North, being alongside them as they negotiate banks, buses, grocery-shopping and healthcare. After the initial flurry of setting up the household and enrolling in schools, GPs and so on, for each of these families, and no doubt more in 2019, my folks are now always at the other end of the phone when they have questions or get stuck.

Last month one of their former refugee friends said she’d love a sewing machine. Mum asked if I knew anyone with one to donate. I told Mum I’d ask on Twitter, and within minutes we had sourced a machine for this first person. More offers came in, so I checked with Red Cross and found that all the centres they could reach (in the last week before Christmas!) knew of former refugees who would appreciate one.

I won’t tell the stories of those families for them, but you can hear from people in the same position on the excellent Red Cross website.

Every year a few hundred new New Zealanders arrive here after years of anxious displacement. After a few weeks of orientation in Māngere, they move to rented houses in one of eight centres: Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill.

And of course they need more than sewing machines.

How else can you help?

If you don’t have an unused sewing machine lying around, there are plenty of other ways you could help a former refugee household thrive in their new surroundings.

If you’re in one of those eight resettlement centres, start by checking out the Red Cross website.

If you’re in another part of the world, search online for ‘refugee volunteer’ + your location and you’ll find ways to be useful.

Some of the things you could do in New Zealand include:

  • mentoring a former refugee as they learn to drive
  • helping a former refugee household to set up their new home and get to know their new city
  • employing or training a former refugee through the Red Cross Pathways to Employment programme
  • donating specific items that are needed in your region, or anything to any Red Cross shop to raise funds
  • becoming a customer of a former refugee’s business. There are some examples of businesses that might be near you here and here
  • making friends with a former refugee.

I have lots more ideas for you in this article, so I reckon there’s something for just about everyone, wherever you live. Let me know how it goes!

A reminder: If you have a sewing machine to donate, please contact me at sacraparental [at] gmail [dot] com. Please don’t contact your local Red Cross directly – we’re trying to save them some work by coordinating. Thank you!

 

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15 comments on “Sewing Machine Drive 2019!”

  1. Julie Halligan Reply

    Hi there,

    I have two machines that would need their tension issues looked at but other than that, good machines, Elnas about 30 yrs old. AND as a home dressmaker I have a fabric scrap stash (3 good sized plastic bags worth) that I was going to use to make quilts, news is that’s never going to happen, so have that if it’s of use, and some fabric as well that was given to me but not really my colours.
    I am in Pukekohe.

  2. Evenson Alexis Novembre Reply

    Hello,
    My name is Evenson I’m very happy about your initiative to help people from the world.
    Me and my wife have the the initiative to help too ,but we create a organization non profit for Haiti to the helping These women without husband or husband die in the desaster natural of 10 January 2012 … .
    We will create a school professional sewing machine.we seek people around the world can help us and donate sewing machine for these women will make about the second professional sewing machine.
    How you can help E&N Heart Of Love inc?
    Thank you

  3. Joanne Dean Reply

    Hi, I appreciate the practicality of this idea. My mother was a supurb sewer & dressed our whole when things were tough. My mother has left a large amount of fabric, threads & notions that I am sorting through. I would love to donate these to people who will actually use them. It will take me some time to sort this so is this drive continuing for a few months? Also is there a drop-off point in Auckland?

    • thaliakr Reply

      Kia ora Joanne,

      Great to hear from you! If you could email me your details we can keep you posted on Auckland drop-off points. I’m sure there will be an ongoing need, so you’re welcome to keep in touch later in the year. Sacraparental at gmail dot com. :)

  4. Anna Reply

    Hi there, I am working with a new family in Nelson, and the mum would love a machine and is very competent sewer already. Anything happening down here? :) thanks a lot!

    • thaliakr Reply

      Great! Yes, Nelson Red Cross is in the loop and will be getting machines soon. Speak to their staff to register your need :) Good on you!

  5. Donna Gardner Reply

    I can service any handle crank or Treadle sewing machines in the Tauranga to Waihi area if this is any help?

  6. Dale Reply

    Hi ya, I have one that is about 50 years old, pretty sure it still works. Are you still collecting sewing machines? I’m based in Auckland. Thanks

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