Volunteers Stitch Together 950 Uniforms for Haitian Children

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Members from area catholic churches in Cedar Rapids and Vinton are working on a project to help hundreds of children in Haiti.

Volunteers are hand-sewing 950 school uniforms.

The group kicked off their work on Saturday when dozens of people gathered at St. Ludmila in Cedar Rapids to piece together the little outfits.

"We worked for four hours, sewing and cutting and ironing and we got a bunch of work done," said St. Ludmila Volunteer Sue Martinek.

The work, however, is just beginning. Over the next eight months volunteers will make hundreds of uniforms.

"The shirts have button holes, so that takes some extra time too," Martinek said.

"It's awesome," said Megan Ternus.

Megan Ternus and her mom, Connie, are organizing the project. Megan said she's cut out of the same fabric as some of these poor children, which inspires her to make the uniforms.

"I was not able to go to school until I was eight years old. I was adopted from Ukraine in 2001, and so I came from an orphanage knowing what it was like not to have anything," Megan Ternus said.

The mother-daughter team visited Haiti with their church, St. Mary Catholic Church of Vinton, in 2013.

With only enough uniforms for one school, they knew they had to step up their effort.

They said this new round of uniforms will be enough for all the kids at four more schools. Connie Ternus said each child needs a uniform to attend school.

"We have kids that, actually -- like a family they may have one uniform, so then one of the kids will go to school in the morning. They will come home and switch and the other one will go," Connie Ternus said.

So, they'll keep sewing for children who need a little love from a stranger.

"They have a lot of faith. I mean, they believe in tomorrow and that they are going to get through today," Connie Ternus said.

Volunteers are hoping with each stitch kids in Haiti will have a much better tomorrow.

"It's just a small way. A very small way that we can help," Martinek said.

If anyone wants to find out how to donate time or money, you can contact St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton. That number is (319) 472-3368.
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