85-year-old sews for children in Africa

You’re never too old to help someone.

Delores Fry creates clothes for orphans in Africa

Delores Fry of Ossian, 85, could feel like she has lived a long life and deserves to take it easy. The octogenarian has been busy most of her life as a former Licensed Practical Nurse and later salesperson at Joann’s Fabric. On the personal side, Fry was married 62 years to her husband, Ernest (deceased) and could claim no interest in anyone outside of her family, which includes five children, dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

But that is not Fry’s way.

It only took a story heard on Oprah’s former TV talk show for Fry to decide to become involved with helping hundreds of poverty-stricken children on the other side of the world.

In 2010 Fry watched a segment about a non-profit Christian organization called Little Dresses for Africa. “Rachel O’Neill, organizer of Little Dresses for Africa, talked about how many children in Africa never live past age five,” said Fry. “Pretty little sundresses may give them hope and teach them that they do matter.”

While working at Joann’s Fabrics, Fry had accumulated much cotton blend material which she had used to make quilts.

The Little Dresses for Africa organization publishes a dress pattern at its website (www.littledressesforafrica.org), but Fry preferred a  Simplicity sundress pattern. “They call it a pillowcase dress because it is made with just a straight stitch and two pieces of material sewn together on the sides,” she said. “I add elastic and ties for the shoulders, but no zippers or buttons.”

Fry uses her Viking sewing machine to add rick rack for trim and pockets for added appeal.       

Fry also creates shorts and pants for little boys, another need requested by the organization. It takes Fry approximately two hours and one yard of material to make each garment. Her daughter helps her by cutting the fabric.

When Fry’s children saw her interest in creating garments for underprivileged children, they presented her with 20 yards of fabric for her birthday. Fry pays the postage to send the boxes of dresses to Michigan where headquarters for Little Dresses for Africa is located.

Fry has never volunteered to sew for any other project. But something about the Little Dresses for Africa project has given her energy and enthusiasm. Already she has sewn more than 100 dresses. “I keep working on it because it is necessary,” Fry said. “I was always able to sew and thought someone should benefit from it.”

The End

Used with permission of Ossian Sun Riser

4 thoughts on “85-year-old sews for children in Africa

  1. Pam says:

    The dresses shown are so colorful and beautiful! What a wonderful use of her time and talent.

  2. raffaleme says:

    This is such a selfless honarable gift most of us see the ads and like myself become saddened and full of anger and overwhwlming enotions but do nothing i applaud this lady for not just being a bystandard but actually getting up and take actual action. delores you sure are a child of god

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