HOUSTON, TX---It's not quite six degrees of separation, but the kind hearts of residents of Eagle's Trace retirement community and their friends will soon provide comfort to children 7,600 miles away.
Lily Barras is a resident of Eagle's Trace in West Houston. She belongs to a social group called the Tipsy Quilters in West Columbia, Texas. Its members quilt and sew for fun; many of their finished works are donated to charity.
Ms. Barras has a long-time friend, Tissie Schwebel, whose son serves as Pastor on a Mercy Ship. Since 1978, this global charity has operated a fleet of hospital ships sent to developing nations.
As volunteer medical professionals on the ships provide free health care services, including surgeries, to people in need, there is a continuous demand for supplies and clothing.
Bring back Ms. Barras and Ms. Schwebel. They decided to make homemade dresses for the young girls who are served by the Mercy Ships through the Tipsy Quilters and Bethel Presbyterian Church in East Columbia.
Then enter Eagle's Trace. Ms. Barras brought the idea to the Community Outreach Committee, a group of residents who perform year-round service projects in Houston and beyond.
The committee embraced the mission, and in April after acquiring donated fabric, elastic and bias tape, members distributed "Dress a Girl" kits to fellow residents who are nifty with needle and thread.
That brought resident Mary Wright into the equation. Described by a friend as an "angel with an open heart," Ms. Wright was determined to contribute. Her love of sewing and generous spirit resulted in her creating one hundred dresses.
And an added twist: Eagle's Trace residents Bud and Marianne Guy actually served on two Mercy Ship missions. Mr. Guy, a pharmacist, and Mrs. Guy, a nurse, traveled to the Dominic Republic, Guatemala and Nicaragua to lend their expertise. "We saw miracles on those ships," stated Mr. Guy. "We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing." It inspired Mrs. Guy to make dresses, too.
Finally, on June 11th, the group of residents gathered to turn in their finished products. The end result: over 170 dresses will soon be on a Mercy Ship headed to serve people in the Congo.
"It really proves what a small world this really is," described Nancy Bell, chair of the Community Outreach Committee. "I'm so proud of how everyone thought of the big picture by sharing their talent and time."
Volunteer crews aboard Mercy Ships have performed services for 2.35 million direct beneficiaries, including over 61,000 surgeries. More information can be found at www.mercyships.org.
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About Eagle's Trace: Eagle's Trace is one of sixteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. Located in Houston, Texas, the scenic 70-acre campus is home to more than 575 residents. Eagle's Trace is the ideal greater Houston retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.