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16 women, mostly retired, have been selflessly mending clothing for homeless people for over a decade

The menders have been spreading smiles and warmth for the past 12 years through their skill and time by fixing clothes for those in need.

16 women, mostly retired, have been selflessly mending clothing for homeless people for over a decade
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Johnathan Borba, The Philadelphia Inquirer | Pat Miller

Doing something good for others evokes an incredible feeling that one cannot describe. However, doing something good for others when they are in deliberate need of help and gestures holds a million feelings. One cannot describe the joy and wholesomeness of being there for a person in need. A small random act of kindness goes a long way in a person’s life and holds much more value than one can describe. The Philadelphia Inquirer shared the story of the Menders, a group of 16 women who get their hands together to go out of their way and help those in need every week. The Menders render a multiservice every week which mainly includes stitching, repair and more. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Pavel Danilyuk

The Menders dedicatedly repair coats and jackets for those who are homeless or cannot afford repairs and offer much warmth with their love in the biting cold. “It gets cold when your only coat has no buttons and the zipper is broken. It’s worse when you have no place to call home,” said John C., a man in his 50s who says he’s been living on the streets for a while. He then went to the Menders to find some selfless spirit and get his coat repaired as well. The women enthusiastically get their ribbons, zippers, needles and thread out, all set to help those in need. The women spend 2 hours every week during which they mend at least 12 jackets or coats. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| EVG Kowalievska
Representative Image Source: Pexels| EVG Kowalievska

Having begun 12 years ago, their passion for the selfless gesture has been thriving ever since. These women haven't stopped their service once in the last 12 years, except for the time when the world came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. The charity organization shared its simple procedure that begins with taking in people who need their clothes repaired. One of the women shared that as the clothing comes in, they take a careful look at what can be done to salvage the item and whether it needs a zipper or ribbon and whatnot. The procedure uses a ticket numbering method where clients are given a ticket for the clothing which is passed on to the menders. With 2 hours on their hands, they do as much as possible to deliver to as many as they can. 

Advocating the power of quick zippers, one of the menders, Cecile Lefebvre Burgert, said that they’re “sometimes the best solution.” Beverly Coleman, a newbie, shared that the experience adds to the energy and keeps building up. “The fastest I’ve ever used my sewing machine. My experience took over,” she said. Pat Miller, one of the founding members, shared that she wanted to do something to ease the tragedy of homelessness in her way. “People are so grateful,” she said, “and it’s such a small thing to do,” she added.


Right from pants, shawls, jackets and more, the menders are willing to give a shot at trying to fix every piece of clothing they possibly can. CEO Laurie Birone of the ministry, where the menders share their services, said, “We like to say that we practice radical hospitality, which means that we provide social services for people who don’t have access to it. They are our guests and we are here to serve their needs. From a philosophical point of view, the menders provide healing and hope, and bring people together,” she added.

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