For almost 20 years, a team of dedicated sewists have made a difference to those living in largely remote communities. The now dissolved Friends of the Pacific would fill shipping containers of equipment for rural schools and hospitals, with local ladies adding a variety of clothing they had made to the load.
When Friends of the Pacific closed their doors, the group at the Sunshine Charity Sewing group decided to continue doing what they love – sewing for the greater good. The group first set up in a garage, which they soon outgrew and saw them move to Kawana Library Meeting Room. Along with Covid came the need for new premises and the ladies sewed on the covered veranda at the home of one of the members until they found new premises at the Suncare Community Centre in Buddina.
Group President, Jean Kozak explains. “Through sales at our street stalls and stands at local shopping centres, we raise money to help where we can. We are proud to provide The Shack Community Centre in Nambour with monthly food donations and the money we raise also allows us to post our goods to outlying areas. We have received grant money from Council to help purchase and service our sewing machines and the public have been amazing in providing an ongoing flow of sewing materials.”
From drawstring bags for patients to take home their medical supplies from rural clinics to Christmas t-shirts for an urban school concert, the list of assistance the Sunshine Coast Charity Sewing Group has provided is endless. “We support Emergency Foster Care with toiletry bags – filled with toiletries – and clothes for those in need. We also make tiny preemie night gowns for a neo-natal foundation in Melbourne. A regular recipient is Purple House in Alice Springs. Purple House provides dialysis in the most remote parts of Australia, running 19 remote clinics and two mobile dialysis units called the Purple Trucks. We knit socks and blankets as patients get cold undergoing treatment. We love to help where we can” says Lis Sawyer, group Secretary.
And making sure that nothing goes to waste, leftover scraps of material are donated to another local organisation who use them to fill pet beds for rescue dog shelters.
For the sewists, the group also has its benefits. They love to sew and the social interaction within the team is a bonus. “We have fun and laugh a lot while we sew. Meeting new people and catching up with our team is good for mental health. So if you love a chat and are an experienced sewist, we are always looking for extra hands to help us make a difference,” says Jean.
The group operates from the Suncare Community Centre in Buddina. Suncare recognises the importance of staying active and in touch with others and social activities at the centre include weekly art and mahjong groups.
For more information on joining the Sunshine Charity Sewing Group or donating materials, please contact Lis on 0419346201 or Jean on 0418506546.