Sister Josefa Tikoisolomone offered her skills to this project in response to the Soup Kitchen whanau’s need to be able to look after their few possessions, and their desire to learn new skills and potentially make an income.
“Sewing is one of the gifts that is natural to me” said Sr Josefa. “My mother had a hand sewing machine but I never had a chance to sew as I was the youngest and my older sisters were always using the machine. But later in life, that I was given a sewing machine so I taught myself – what a gift! I love every minute of my time sewing. When I was approached to start a sewing project I was over joyed, but we didn’t have any machines, scissors or equipment to work with. “
Karen Holland Soup Kitchen Manager said “when we floated this idea to our supporters, we were overwhelmed by offers of fabric and a couple of sewing machines which we were so thankful for. Sr Josefa was delighted, but we were concerned that this might not be sustainable. Then we received a donation of $1000 from United Way, this meant we have been able to buy a new machine, get the scissors tape measures and cotton. Plus we have sourced labels for the products that the whanau are making for sale.”
The project has begun with basic sewing machine skills, threading a machine, sewing in a straight line and cutting out fabric. Learning is fun though, with whanau making bunting decorations for the Official Opening and Blessing of the Soup Kitchen Garden. Soon the whanau will move on to sewing oven cloths, aprons, and even shopping bags. Once the whanau have mastered the basic skills and are producing goods of a high enough quality the items will be available for purchase.
Our whanau have enjoyed this new project. For one of our whanau it has given him a chance to share some one of his hidden talents with us – “I used to make bags out of recycled material to sell, but found it hard to keep up because I didn’t have access to a sewing machine. It’ll be great to get back into it and to learn new skills.”
Sr Josefa says “The generosity and the support of the community is overwhelming. Mother Aubert has left us her legacy – her faith and trust in Divine Providence has a wide range. The Soup Kitchen has been blessed with the goodness and generosity of the people of Wellington and the benefactors from United Way. We are truly blessed and grateful to them for sharing their gifts and keeping our mission alive and meaningful.”
For more information on our He Rākau Koikoi – Purposeful Activities project check out: https://soupkitchen.org.nz/our-work/social-inclusion-projects-and-programmes/