Meeting needs for Christmas: Patricia Hurt provides dresses

Published 5:10 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

Patricia Hurt decided to provide a need that many don’t consider. In preparation for Christmas each year, churches across the country fill shoe boxes with hygiene items, toys, school supplies and more for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. This organization takes the boxes and gives them to children all over the world, most of whom have never received a Christmas present.

Some churches have each person fill a box themselves while others like Worsham Baptist Church collect items throughout the year before having a packing party at the beginning of November. Items are collected for these boxes and separated for girls or boys ages two to four, five to nine and 10 to 14. Each year the church collects for 100 boys and 100 girls.

But there are some needs not everyone thinks about. Enter Patricia Hurt. Instead of focusing on toys and other common items, Hurt decided to make dresses for all 100 girls. In the spring, she started her project and completed it in August.

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“After hearing that so many little girls in third world countries may never get a new dress and some will never get a dress at all my heart was touched,” she said. “It is a huge honor for girls to have a dress in some of these countries. I knew I had to do something to make at least some of them happy.”

It started with pillowcase sundresses for the younger girls ages two to nine. Then she learned that in some countries girls are not allowed to show their shoulders so she began making skirts and t-shirts for the older girls ages 10 to 14. 

This is the second year she made dresses for the shoe boxes. Two years ago she made 50 dresses and last year she made 200 tote bags after a speaker, who received one of these boxes as a child, told of how many of the children carry the family’s allotment of beans and rice in their shirts. This year she decided that each girl would get a dress or shirt.

Patricia Hurt has a process

The process isn’t too long as it only takes her 40 minutes to an hour to make each dress depending on how elaborate she chooses to make it. She loved making circle shirts to go with the T-shirts as girls love to twirl in them. Her family helped by picking up T-shirts from every Dollar Tree from here to Lynchburg to go with the skirts. The boys won’t be left out either as she made shorts for the boy’s boxes to go with some of the T-shirts. 

“It’s just the satisfaction of giving to children who otherwise wouldn’t get anything,” said Hurt. “Makes me happy to give to those children who have nothing.”

Hurt started sewing at an early age as her mother, grandmother and aunt encouraged and taught her. By age eight she could hand sew a buttonhole and loved making dresses for her dolls. When she was in school she took home economics and learned how to use a sewing machine and patterns. 

Even though many would agree she contributed more than enough by making clothes for the children Hurt found other creative items for the bag. She found a pattern to easily make cloth frisbees that could fold up and fit in the small box. She also put together bracelet-making kits with embroidery floss and instructions in 12 languages. 

This has been a group effort as others have donated items for her to use. Once people found out what she was doing, Hurt received donations of sheets, fabric and embroidery floss to put these items together. 

“It’s amazing how people want to help and put the resources together to help the children,” she said.

Making dresses