Danforth sewing group makes hundreds of dresses for Moldova youth

DANFORTH, Maine — For the past five years, a group of women in the greater Danforth area have made it their mission to outfit youngsters in underprivileged countries.

The Dorcas Sewing Sisters of Danforth is a group of about 12 women in their 70s and 80s, who put their sewing skills to good use by making dresses, handbags and headbands for children in need.

This year, the group made hundreds of dresses for children in Moldova, a small country located north of Romania. 

Each year, the Dorcas select a different country where they send their dresses. In 2018, the group sent homemade dresses to girls at the House of Christ Orphanage in Haiti. The group also made shorts for boys.

Lydia Preston, 77, of Weston has been one of the driving forces for the East Grand Lake group, sewing many dresses on her 100-plus year-old Singer treadle sewing machine that her mother, Lydia Noyes, purchased in the 1960s.

“Dresses for Moldova came about because of the many people who have so generously donated materials, money and all the necessary sewing items to the Dorcas Sewing Sisters of Danforth,” Preston said. “The DSS is a group of ladies from the surrounding area who for the past few years have endeavored to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate by sewing and distributing clothes and items to several countries, including the U.S.”

Typically, the shipments are mailed to ministries in the areas chosen to support and then distributed by the ministry to those in need. At other times, the dresses have gone in suitcases and been delivered personally by the group.

Preston managed to make 289 dresses with matching handbags and headbands this year.

“None of this would have been possible had it not been for all the unnamed people who gave, Preston said. “We thank you and you can be proud of what’s been accomplished.”

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