Why We’re Here

Sue Rock’s store, a long narrow space on Bergen Street, has the eclectic look of a well worn workshop, overflowing with fabric, bobbins, thread and a mirror ball at center with a red frieze running the length of the store. Her call for volunteers to make skirts for Haitian girls and women has attracted an equally eclectic crowd–a student from Ithaca, a parks supervisor from Manhattan, a Brooklyn computer programmer, and dozens of others. The shop is crowded with some people working outside — happily, the weather is definitely on our side — but the sense here is relaxed and there are even moments of that kind of quiet that comes from people concentrating on their work.

Some of the volunteers came because they were looking for Martin Luther King Day volunteer opportunities. At the fabric sorting table, Igor, who works in advertising, said he found Sue Rock Originals through the MyBarackObama web site as did Charlene and Jessica. Charlene, whose family comes from Barbados, and Jessica, with family in Haiti, had wanted a chance to help give relief after the earthquake but wanted to do something more besides sending money. Lauren, another of the fabric sorters, was surprised that there were so few opportunities to actually do something for Haitians besides donating money.

Shirley, who is waiting for a chance to sew, brought her two children, Cheyenne and Zavier, to the event because, as a Haitian American, she wants to find some way to help while also exposing her children to a volunteer opportunity: “As long as Cheyenne gets a chance to sew, I’ll be happy.”

Natasha came because she had volunteered for Sue last year, and via facebook, learned about the event today. She’s working on an industrial machine hemming a butter yellow material that will become one of the 500 skirts the Rocks plan to send to Haiti. The skirts will be sarong-style: “Making a button hole would take way too much time,” she said.

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