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12 Who Care: Sharon Meehan sews brand new dresses for little girls in need

She has given that gift to thousands of little girls in Jacksonville in the past six years.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Wearing new clothes brings a sense of confidence, and one Jacksonville woman wants every little girl to have that feeling, even if their family can’t afford new things.

Through her organization “Sewing Hope,” Sharon Meehan is changing families’ lives one dress at a time.

Meehan partners with the DESC clothing ministry in Jacksonville, which provides nice, used clothing to those in need. Meehan wanted to make sure the little girls could be sent home with something brand new.

“It makes me feel like I can take the thing I enjoy doing and do something for someone else,” Meehan said.

“That feeling that I’m in something brand new, it’s all mine, that’s a real gift,” said David Clark, executive director of DESC. “Giving that to children, especially little girls, it is an emotional lift.”

Meehan has given that gift to thousands of little girls in Jacksonville in the past six years.

After raising sons, Meehan says she never got to sew cute dresses and skirts, which inspired her to partner with DESC in 2014.

“That dress is important, but also that feeling of someone caring for you enough to do extra, that goes a long way in making someone feel better about themselves,” Clark said.

Not only is it rewarding, but Meehan says it’s fun. She now fosters a sewing group of thirteen women.

As the ring leader, Meehan scouts out donations from the community and craft stores to keep the group stocked and prepared.

Before the pandemic, she’d invite them into her home weekly to cut out, sew and iron nearly 5,000 dresses to date.

“We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have a community amongst our group,” Meehan said.

The sewing hasn’t stopped, in fact, the women have also started sewing masks for healthcare workers. They are just working from a far for the time being.

“It really gives me a great purpose for my time,” said Betty Ann Graves, member of Sewing Hope.

Meehan and her group said a simple needle and thread can impact thousands of lives.

“It’s fun, it helps the community, and it gives me a reason to keep sewing,” Meehan said.

If you would like to donate supplies or join the group, you can contact the group by emailing sewinghope4desc@gmail.com.