Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can Sewing Save Lives?

The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, 
to be compassionate, to have it make some difference 
that you have lived and lived well.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all know about lots of different ways that we can reach out and touch someone with our sewing - for example, I have made flannel pillow cases for children hospitalized with cancer and special clothing that fits over leg braces for veterans.  There are opportunities to sew stuffed animals for children being taken into foster care and to create small quilts from baby clothes that bring comfort to bereaved parents.  And the list goes on...

But did you ever imagine that your sewing could actually SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE?  LITERALLY!

Every year, hundreds of people die in the desert areas around the border between the United States and Mexico - most of them from the heat and thirst.  Do you see the blue flag flying high in the picture above?  That flag was sewn by a volunteer - someone like you and I.  That flag marks a water station where everyone is welcome.  

That flag saves lives.

It turns out that the desert sun and wind are very hard on the flags and, even when they are made out of heavy nylon, they shred quickly and have to be replaced every few months.  That's why the organization Humane Borders is always looking for volunteers to sew more flags.

Granted, our current immigration situation is complicated - there are plenty of good points (and bad ones!) being made by people on every side of the issue.  

But there is one thing that I know for sure: no one deserves to die of thirst in the desert.

And so, after the Christmas-gift-making-rush, I'm going to be making some flags.  Will anyone join me?  

You can see a little bit more about this in this YouTube video:  

The video also has some text which explains in more detail what they need.  Here is that text:

Do you sew? Desert winds do heavy damage to our flags; we replace them every few months. You can help guide migrants to life-saving water by making flags that will fly over water stations in remote areas of southern Arizona.

Fabric should be medium- to heavyweight, 100 percent nylon usually costing about $7 per yard (rip-stop nylon does not last as long as heavier fabric). Color should be medium or royal blue. Finished size should be about 36 by 52 inches. With 60-inch wide fabric, cut pieces 44 by 60 inches and make 2-inch hems on all sides. Iron over 4 inches, fold under two inches, so that the entire hem is triple thickness of fabric.

Please use synthetic thread (polyester or nylon). Threads made of cotton or other natural fibers deteriorate quickly in the sun and elements. Any color of thread is acceptable. Please make the sure the corners are stitched securely. A zigzag stitch is very good for sewing the hem.

If you do not have a sewing machine with zigzag stitching, please double stitch the hems. Volunteers at Humane Borders will place grommets into the flag's hem. Mail to Humane Borders, 740 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ, 85719. Visit our website for other ways to support our humanitarian work.

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