Hanging under Christmas lights in the Coal Mountain Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ gym, hundreds of dresses lined the walls — a different scene from several weeks ago when piles of fabric filled the room.
Though many of the Relief Society women who spent months sewing the material — part of a project that will send 301 dresses to girls and women in Haiti — sat around dinner tables, several new faces poked out of the crowd, including the church’s pastor, Bridget Creviston.
“I’m totally amazed,” Creviston said. “The things that these women can do when they put their minds to it is amazing, and the good they can do across the world is just spectacular.”
On Thursday, the Coal Mountain church held a dinner for the women, where they displayed the dresses, 47 of which have already been sent to Haiti.
The other 254 will be sent later this year.
“The women of the church believe in providing service and doing Christ-like work for other people,” former society President Debbie Johnson previously told the Forsyth County News. “The scriptures talk about clothing the naked and indeed that’s what this is, so that’s why we’re doing it.”
Johnson said the material for the dresses came from the disaster program manager for the Red Cross’s Northeast Georgia chapter, Mike Riemann, whose wife was an avid quilter before she died.
“What happened was about a year-and-a-half ago, a woman in Gainesville died of cancer,” Johnson said. “She was a quilter, and they held a sale with all this fabric; quilters collect fabric. There was tons of fabric left at the end of the day and I told the woman running the sale, if [Riemann] would like to make a donation, we would turn this fabric into something really good and make dresses for little girls. I got a phone call from him that evening and he said, ‘it’s all yours.’”
Johnson said there was so much fabric, it filled the pickup truck she and her husband drove.
Riemann, who could not attend the dinner due to work conflict, told Johnson in an email he was thankful for the work the women have done.
“Rose loved to [do this] in all its iterations and reserved a special love and care for disadvantaged individuals,” the email said. “She would have donated cloth herself if the opportunity had been presented while she was still on earth among us. I was very touched when you let me know how the cloth was used … May you continue such efforts and may you see, first-hand, the fruits of your labors of love.”
Marsha Hill, one of the women present at Thursday’s event, previously said based on photos of the girls and women who have already received the dresses, the Relief Society women have already been rewarded.a
“I’m excited to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself,” she said. “This is something that’s not just focused on my needs or wants and it makes me feel good to know that I’m blessing the lives of [others]. It was wonderful to see [photos of] the smiles on the [girls’] faces and the light in their eyes and to know that we’re all children of our heavenly father no matter where we live in the world.”