Local Sewing Group Sends Dresses Across the Globe

- CONWAY, AR--A group of Arkansans is preparing to take off on a medical mission trip to Guatemala, with a lot more than vitamins in their suitcases. Volunteers are packing clothes made in honor of an Arkansas woman to change lives across the world.

The colorful collection of little girls dresses all started with a conversation.

"She said, you have a little girl to sew for, she had a son and she never had any grandchildren," says Teri Moffitt.

Moffitt was so touched by her talk with Ina Fulmer , a member of Salem Methodist for over 85 years, she felt compelled to carry on Fulmer's wish.

"She passed away in June and by August we were sending dresses to Costa Rica," says Moffitt.

Moffitt enlisted the help of local seamstresses and started calling the group, 'Ina's Girls'.

"I've always wanted to be a healer, I couldn't be a healer so I'll just be a sewer," says seamstress Phoebe McClenahan.

Through mission groups, they started sending their dresses across the world, including Costa Rica and the Philippines.

Marianne Welch is coordinating the next medical mission trip for St. Peter's Episcopal Church.

"I have a hard time finding the words to say how much and how deeply these dresses will be appreciated by kids who have nothing," she says. "There is so much need in that place and there is so much to share."

Each year they visit the Western Highlands Welch hopes to leave the children feeling better.

"After they've gotten their medications they go from there to the boutique," says Welch.

And this time, thanks to Ina's girls, a bit brighter.

First time attendee LaTresha Woodruff adds, "Although these dresses are beautiful and made with love, it's something as simple as a dress that can change the way they think about themselves."

McClenahan says, "I just hope they like them cause I love to make them."

When asked how Fulmer would respond to the women's' mission, Moffitt says, "I think she would be very pleased."

The medical mission will serve roughly 500 people. The group leaves Saturday and is taking 50 dresses, sewn in Central Arkansas.

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