Columbia teen donating homemade dresses

Pictured is Columbia teenager Caroline Keefe with dresses she has made and donated with the free time she has had during the pandemic. 

A Columbia teenager is making the most of the extra downtime she has due to COVID-19 by making and donating dresses to those in need. 

“I just think it’s important to make sure we have a positive impact on the world around us,” 15-year-old Caroline Keefe said. “It was important to me to make sure that I wasn’t just benefitting myself, but helping other people as well.”

Keefe made her first dress a few years ago with the help of her grandmother.

When the Illinois’ stay at home order began and the pandemic forced many aspects of life to slow to a standstill, she decided to return to dressmaking as a hobby. 

Keefe said she decided about a month ago to start giving her homemade dresses away after discussing it with her mother and grandmother.

“My mom encouraged me to make dresses because that would be a good thing to do,” she said. “After spending time with my grandma and seeing it was such a nice thing to do, that kind of inspired me to do it.” 

Keefe has been sending her dresses to an organization called Little Dresses for Africa, which provides a cutout or pattern for her to follow. The nonprofit then gives the clothes to children on that continent. 

When Keefe and her mother, Debbie, started sharing her work on Facebook, others said they would like to buy a dress for themselves. 

“That’s when we realized we could make a business out of this, too,” Keefe recalled. 

The charitable element was still important to her, however, so she decided that for each dress she sold she would donate one to Little Dresses for Africa or Dress a Girl Around the World, which aims to give every girl at least one new dress. 

“I just thought it was really important to keep part of this a charitable thing instead of just a business,” Keefe said. 

To find out more about Keefe’s efforts or order a dress, find her business on Facebook by searching Seamless Love. 

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