Another Balcony Girl’s lesson about extending love to the poor, this time we made Pillowcase Dresses for Africa.

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The poor do not need our compassion or our pity; they need our help.
Mother Teresa

Last week my friend Jeannie opened her home again to the Balcony Girls and me. This time we came with old pillowcases (many from Good Will), sheets, curtains, sewing machines and the girl’s grandmas.

Up in the craft room many hands were working. As Jeannie laid out the plan for the day – who would cut, iron, and sew – we all got to work.

Our desire was to make as many dresses as we could for orphanages and poor little girls in other countries. It’s called Little Dresses for Africa.

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3, Christian-based organization which provides relief to the children of Africa. Simple dresses are made out of pillow cases and distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy!

With Little Dresses for Africa, there are many ways to provide help from starting or hosting your own sewing group, sizing and packing little dresses, or donating financially toward shipping costs.

You can read more, here.

While the girls were able to earn community service hours for school, at the same time, we learned a lesson of gratitude and love. And so I asked the girls:

What do you think about “stuff” and materialism?
Does it make you happy?
Did you realize that even adults fall into materialism and “wanting more?”
How does it make you feel to help the poor?

I explained to the girls that cultivating a heart of thanksgiving usually begins in our homes, with our parents. But there are other ways to learn how to reach out.

1. Look for an opportunity. (In our case, pillowcase dresses.)

2. Be aware and recognize when your heart feel envious toward things that you want. (Or the people who have them.)

3. Realize that God is our source of joy, and not “stuff,” beauty, fame, or money.

4. Happiness comes from self-less service, loving others, and gratitude – being grateful for what we’ve been given.

I’m thankful for this group’s attitude about “giving back.” It is true that parents help cultivate a generous heart in kids, and I’m also thankful for a school that promotes community service and learning how to give beyond themselves.

True fulfillment to me comes in days like we had last week. Everyone working together toward a goal, not focusing on pity, but on love.