about the original “Share Your Stash” project and our vision for a PERMANENT organization going forward.
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated the Homestead area with wind speeds as high as 173 mph. It looked like a 35-mile wide tornado had moved across the land, wiping out everything in its path.
According to Fred Drexler, Founding Partner of Sulky of America, everyone, including his 60-member Rotary Club, moved to provide immediate disaster relief. During the early days of working on this with his club, it occurred to Fred that many of those people who had lost everything were low and middle-income working class people who sewed. And later, once they had found housing and other basic necessities, would need and want to sew again.
Fred felt that with his knowledge of the Home Sewing Industry and his involvement with Rotary, he was uniquely qualified to help a large number of them be able to sew again. Once he found out that his Rotary club was enthusiastically receptive to this project, he sent news releases to all of the Sewing and Quilting Industry Consumer and Trade publications, guilds, and other Rotary Clubs, inviting consumers all over the country to “Share your Stash”, and he invited them to send every imaginable sewing item(s) and machines to his Sulky warehouse in Harbor Heights, FL.
Fred moved all of the donated items to an empty Savings and Loan building where, over the span of about 10 months, his little Rotary club and a local sewing guild, sorted and distributed 2 full semi-trailer loads of sewing supplies to the sewing residents of the Homestead area. (Fred’s son, Eric Drexler, serviced 252 used sewing machines on his own time.) Cash donations to the Port Charlotte Rotary Charitable Foundation 501(c) 3 were used to help fund the logistics of the distributions.
The Miami chapter of the American Sewing Guild was instrumental in locating a church where the distributions could be made and the almost 2,000 people who got a new lease on their sewing life during the 2 distribution weekends. They also helped Fred and his son, Eric, teach 252 people how to use the new (to them) sewing machine that they received.
Our thoughts, at this time, are to revive and emulate this project in 3 to 6 regional areas around the country, and to make it permanent so that we will be ready to respond to the present and future sewing needs of people who are victims of Floods, Hurricanes, Tornados, Wildfires, Earthquakes, etc.
To do this well we would need the ongoing commitment and involvement of sewing and quilting guilds, Industry Leaders, trade organizations like Quilts Inc. and VDTA, service clubs like Rotary, along with financial support from any and all who make their living selling to the Home Sewing and Quilting Industry.
We have no doubt that many thousands of consumers would be willing to “Share their Stash” if we asked them; and in this age of Social Media, we are confident that the response would be immediate and enormous, so we would need to have all of the details worked out before announcing anything to the public.
Our vision for this huge, ongoing, permanent project is that there would be one organization who would be responsible for finding, establishing, overseeing, teaching, feeding, and fostering the 3 to 6 regional branches around the country, each of which would have its own organizational branch that would be responsible for locating and overseeing: