Thirty girls in Haiti will have bright, new, colorful skirts to wear, thanks to 9-year-old Sarah Poyner of Choctaw, Okla.
In November, Sarah got a sewing machine for her birthday and learned how to sew pillows for cousins and friends as Christmas presents. At school, when she found out about the earthquake in Haiti, she decided to use her sewing machine to benefit those affected by the disaster — children her own age, many of whom are now homeless and parentless.
"Well really, I really wanted to help Haiti in some kind of way and I thought just making skirts would help," Sarah said.
Gail Poyner, Sarah's grandmother, taught her how to sew the pillows when she got her machine and was thrilled when Sarah asked her to teach her how to sew skirts for girls in Haiti.
"I was really proud of her that even at that young age she's service-minded," Sister Poyner said.
Sarah chose to make skirts because a lot of people's clothes were probably destroyed in the earthquake, skirts wouldn't be too hot to wear in Haiti's warm climate, and they are much easier to make than other clothing, she said.
With her grandmother ironing the colorful fabric, Sarah does all the sewing, stopping to fix mistakes. It gets easier and faster every day, she said. So far, Sarah has made 19 skirts that have been sent to the Church Humanitarian Center. Her goal is to make 30.
"It required a great deal of work on her part, as well as patience when she had to take out stitches and re-sew to correct mistakes," Sister Poyner said.
When Sister Poyner called the local news station, Channel 5 KOCO in Oklahoma, and told them about Sarah's project, they came to see the skirts and filmed Sarah actually sewing them. Sister Poyner thought Sarah's project would inspire other people to do something to help.
Sarah was nervous "big-time" when KOCO filmed her, but said, "It wasn't that scary."
The colorful skirts are fun to make and she sews instead of watching TV, sometimes giving up playtime or working when her friends are at soccer. She's excited for the girls who will get to wear the skirts.
So is her grandmother.
"How grateful we are for the gospel and its power to touch the hearts of our little ones," she said. "It is our prayer that the little girls in Haiti will feel Sarah's love and, more important, that of our Father in heaven." — Rosemary Campbell