NORMAN — Those who have Sally Phillips on their Christmas lists won’t have to stand in long lines this year to find her that extra special gift.
In fact, Phillips is hopeful that she will start a trend by asking all who know her to buy one less gift this Christmas for a loved one and instead make a donation to the nonprofit she has started, Threads of Kindness.
Phillips, who retired as a school counselor after 28 years, went on her first mission trip last September to Haiti with five other members of Summit Church in Newcastle. Little did Phillips know that this trip of a lifetime would impact her forever.
“I pretty much cried the entire time I was there,” Phillips said.
After returning to Norman, Phillips knew that her work in Haiti wasn’t complete.
“I came home and laid in a fetal position for a week. I couldn’t figure out why God sent me to Haiti, because he certainly didn’t send me there to help those people. Finally, my husband said, ‘You’ve got to go back. Your work is not done there. You’ve got to go back,’” Phillips said.
Phillips, who was a home economics teacher for 22 years, decided to fuse her love for sewing with her passion for Haiti. Phillips knew her calling was to go back to Haiti and teach other women how to sew.
“I wanted to teach them to sew so they could actually make clothes with patterns,” Phillips said.
After a month from her first visit, Phillips found herself back in Haiti. This time, she was able to raise enough money to have 10 sewing machines, fabric, patterns and other supplies shipped to Haiti. In a week’s time, Phillips was able to teach a group of women how to sew.
Again, Phillips knew that her work in Haiti wasn’t complete. She knew she could give more. It was then that Threads of Kindness, a facility Phillips plans to have built where she will train and employ women to make medical scrubs, was born.
Once manufactured, the scrubs will be marketed and sold worldwide.
“I just really feel that God laid it on my heart that I had the ability to provide training and sustainable employment for women in Haiti,” Phillips said.
So far, Phillips has land and building materials donated in Simonette, Haiti. She also has a board of directors established, along with a business plan and an employment plan. What Phillips now needs is someone to help her with social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and the nonprofit’s website, www.threadsofkindness.org.
With cost running near $35,000, Phillips also needs financial support for construction, sewing machines and salaries. But Phillips knows that the right people, the knowledgeable attorneys, the savvy accountants are all out there waiting to help her help others.
Phillips is hopeful to start building the Threads of Kindness facility by this summer. She would like to start training approximately 40 women by next fall and have the first production by next December.
“I see this as a circle that can be continued. I see us, and by “us” I mean everybody here who helps with this, helping these women, these women being able to help their families and their communities by making the scrubs, selling the scrubs to a health care person. And what do health care people do? They help people. And, hopefully, those people getting well are able to go out and help somebody else,” Phillips said.
The name Threads of Kindness, Phillips said, comes from Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
For more information on Threads of Kindness, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.threadsofkindness.org. Donations can be made through the website or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 8, Norman, OK. 73070.
“I’m not really scared because I know this is going to work, because I feel like this is a God thing. I’m excited about it,” Phillips said.