SAUK RAPIDS -- A local Sauk Rapids woman sent 110 hand-made dresses and other clothing items to orphans in Haiti yesterday (Thursday).

Lorraine Carlson has been making dresses and sending them to young girls in Haiti for two years.

She's spent the last 11 years making quilts, hats, gloves and other items of clothing for local charity.

She gets together with other women a few times each month to help make charity quilts at Good Shepherd Church. The parish makes about 1,800 quilts each year.

Carlson and her daughter Debbie began making hat and glove sets for the homeless a few years ago. Eventually they started making afghans and burp cloths for babies and single mothers.

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Carlson had the idea to make dresses and send them to orphans affected by the disaster. She makes the dresses by herself using donated and unwanted material from friends and family members.

It takes her about two hours to completely finish a dress. She doesn't use heavy material like cotton due to Haiti's hot climate.

Carlson says the style of dress is called "pillowcase," "It's very simple to make, it's called the pillowcase dress. I use very few pillowcases because the lord has blessed me with material."

Pillowcase dresses are made with lightweight material and elastic bands for tying. Carlson says the dresses are able to be altered as the girls grow so they last longer.

Carlson's father passed away when she was nine-years-old. Being the youngest of five children she says she knows what it's like to wear hand-me-downs.

Carlson says she feels it's important for kids to receive new clothes, "I never had new things when I was little I had all hand-me-downs. I think getting something new is so refreshing and builds them up with hope."

Carlson says even though she has never met the girls who she has helped, knowing she's helping someone is reason enough for her.

You can donate your unwanted material and unused material by calling Lorraine Carlson at 320-229-0174.

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