Frequently asked questions


Do I need to sew to help?

No, you need not sew to help. Mercy Sews schedules "measure and cut" workshops to assemble dress kits for those who do sew. Watch the HMC bulletin for meeting dates. We also need people to cut blankets, pack clothes in barrels for Africa, and sell tee shirts on Fill-A-Barrel weekend, We invite your help in any activity you are interested in.

Do the members sew in groups?

Our members do not sew together as a group. We sew in our homes, but anyone wishing to sew in a group is welcome to start one. We believe there are many people in our area who would like to form a sewing group.

Where do you get your fabric?

We get our fabric in different ways. Many sew from their own "stash," use coupons, watch for sales, etc. Members spread the word to family and friends that we are looking for donations of suitable fabrics. Also, when Mercy Sews receives money donations, we use them to purchase fabrics and notions for our "Measure and Cut" workshops.

How do I get Mercy Sews labels to sew on the dresses, blankets, and shorts?

Contact Clare Noonan at for labels. Please indicate how many you'll need and include your address. (Note: we do not "make" the tee shirts so they do not require a label.)

When do I turn my items in?

We ship once a year and ask that you deliver  your items  by August 15th.  This gives us time to get the items ready for the "Blessing of the Dresses" event, to which all are welcome. We typically ship the clothing to Africa right after Labor Day.

Where do I bring my items?

Please bring or ship your items to:

Mercy Sews

St. Mary's Parish Center

392 Hanover Street

Hanover, MA 02339 (781) 826-4303


What exactly is the "Blessing of the Dresses" event?

Once we have gathered all the dresses, tee shirts, blankets, shorts, rosary beads, and rosary bead pouches, we invite our members to come to St. Mary's for Mass and a luncheon, during which the donated items will be displayed and blessed. It's a wonderful chance to come together for food, fabric and fellowship, and celebrate the merciful work our members accomplished during the year.

How do the dresses get to Africa?

After the "Blessing of the Dresses," all donated items are placed in blue cargo containers and delivered to the Society of African Missions headquartered in Tenafly, NJ, and then on to the Port of New York City. The barrels then begin their 3-month long trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Douala, Cameroon. Once Bishop Dennis is notified that the barrels have arrived, he arranges for them to be picked up and driven 750 miles inland to Berberati, Central African Republic

When do the children receive the clothing?

The Bishop typically visits the pygmy communities in January around the Feast of the Epiphany, which is also known as the Feast of Missionary Children. Soon after, he emails photos of the parents and children receiving their "gifts."

When Does Mercy Sews start preparing for the next year's shipment?

We usually schedule our first meeting of the year in  February. At that meeting, we review the accomplishments of the previous year, and set dates for the "Measure and Cut" workshops for the new year

Come join us on our next "journey" to Africa!

And he took a little child, and set him in their midst, and taking him into his arms, he said to them: "Whoever receives one such little child for my sake, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me, but him who sent me."--Mark 9:35-36