continued Merchant said collecting old sewing machines is harder than collecting old bikes. The group is looking for portable sewing machines in working condition that are electric. The older, manual pedal machines will sometimes be taken if they are in prime condition.
“There are fewer in our country that are in working condition,” she said. “With the bikes, people overseas can repair them, while a lot of times the sewing machines people need to have parts.”
Hughes, who has been volunteering with Pedals for Progress for eight years, said learning the sewing skill or trade is important in developing countries where there are often not stores for people to shop in. Also most of the children are required to wear uniforms to go to school and without a store or someone to make the uniform, they cannot attend.
“Home sewing businesses are important because most people can’t afford a professionally made uniform,” she said.
The organization has now sent nearly 2,000 sewing machines to 13 different countries.
A consortium of Albany churches, including St. Vincent de Paul, All Saints Catholic Church and the Parish of Mater Christi, are now working through Hughes to hopefully collect 100 sewing machines this summer. On two Saturdays, June 2 and June 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the machines can be brought to St. Vincent de Paul on Madison Avenue in Albany. $10 donations will be accepted to cover shipping costs to other countries. A truck will then arrive to bring all of the machines to the organization’s headquarters in New Jersey.
“These donations will truly help the better the lives of thousands,” said Merchant.
To learn more, visit www.p4p.org.