Someone You Should Know: Pillowcases Become Dresses For Kids In Poverty

Someone You Should Know

For Jeannette Radig, the work is never complete. “I try to do one a day,” she says. “Or at least four or five a week.”

The resident of Touchmark in Bismarck is talking about sundresses, sewn with love here in her bedroom, and eventually sent across the globe to children living in poverty.

Each dress starts as a pillowcase — yes, pillowcases!

Jeannette took up sewing as a pre-teen in the 1930s — and took her craft into the classroom as a Home Ec teacher at Bismarck High School for 20 years.

But a handful of trips to Africa to visit her daughter opened her eyes to an even greater need.

“You would see these little kids with the big bloated belly. One egg a week is enough protein to be able to take care of that — and yet they don’t get that much,” Radig says. “It just breaks your heart to see.”

So about six years ago, she fired up her sewing machine and got to work.

“It gives me something to do each day that passes time if nothing else,” she explains. “And people have been so generous with giving me supplies and so forth.”

Indeed, pillowcases have flown to Jeannette’s door. JCPenney recently donated 30 of them — and good Samaritans have even done their part.

“I’d find bags of pillowcases hanging on my doorknob!” Radig says. “I don’t know who was nice enough to give them to me.”

Just how many dresses has she made in these six years? “I quit counting at 500!”

Literally countless sundresses — now proudly worn by children in places like Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Kenya. “It’s just fun to see that — their smiles were so broad and bright,” Radig says.

All thanks to the diligent work of a woman halfway across the world. “I’ll keep sewing as long as my eyesight lasts!”

Jeannette Radig — bursting at the seams with generosity — is Someone You Should Know.

Jeannette works closely with God’s Child Project, as well as various friends and family members, to get her dresses into the right hands.

And by the way, she’s always looking for more pillowcases!

You’re welcome to drop off or mail unused pillowcases at Touchmark Senior Living in Bismarck, with attention to Jeannette Radig. The address is listed below:

Touchmark on West Century
1000 West Century Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58503

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