The atmosphere in Building No. 2 of Brookside Senior Apartments on Friday is warm and joyful despite the chilly weather.
Eight people gather at the Davenport apartment complex each week with the intent of helping people they likely will never meet. They call themselves the Brookside II LDA, and they contribute hand-made garments to Little Dresses for Africa, an organization dedicated to sewing dresses for young girls in need.
On Friday, the group celebrated the birthday of member Lillian Weber, who turned 99 last week. Weber, of Bettendorf, has been sewing for 91 of those 99 years and sews a dress each day for the local LDA group.
“It is just what I like to do,” Weber said, without missing a beat.
Started in March 2011, this small group, in which almost every member is over 80 years old, is comprised mainly of residents of Brookside Senior Apartments Building No. 2.
“I was watching a documentary about the Little Dresses for Africa organization, and thought it would be a great idea for some of us to get together to help some people who live so far away,” Judy Noel said, explaining how she came up with the idea for the group.
Dresses have been sent to more than 31 countries in Africa as well as to Central America and Cambodia and even places within the United States when requested.
“It keeps you feeling good doing something you know really helps people,” said Ella Haulk.
Members of the group say they hope the effort continues for many years because of the benefit both sides receive from each hand-sewn dress.
Nancy Voltz talked about why it is easy to keep the energy of the group going.
“It is the love of doing it, just knowing that someone is going to get love out of it,” she said.