Frequently Asked Questions
Who is in your program?
The only requirements for women to join our program is to be living in a poverty situation and have the desire to better herself.
How do ladies become a part of your program?
Women hear of us by word of mouth or come to us through referrals from social agencies and churches. We advertise with local social agencies.
How many ladies can participate in your program?
For sewing instruction, we can accommodate 20 women total at any one time. We have ten sewing machines, so we can serve 10 seamstresses 2 days a week, and another 10 on two other days. Other women who have been through the program can work at home and still sell their products in our store.
How does your operation work?
Martha’s Task is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Our program is supported by donations from many individuals in our community and from several churches in our community. Almost all of the sewing machines, fabric and sewing notions are continuously donated by people in our community. This is done so that the women in our program can learn a new trade, sell their items and keep 100% of the sale price of their item. This is an example of an entire community working together to help its most vulnerable members gain greater independence, both social-emotionally and financially.
Women with a desire to learn to sew and to better their incomes can join our program with little to no sewing skills. We are staffed by two volunteer instructors who start instruction at the most beginning level for those with this need. We pay women a small stipend while they are learning to sew. As women progress in their skills, their instructors teach them to sew things that they can sell in our store. As women begin to place items in the store, we pay them half the sale price, and they receive the other half when the item sells. Volunteers in our community serve as quality control inspectors. All items pass through a quality control inspection before they are placed in our store. This helps women attain a high degree of skill and pride in their work.
Women who join our program enter as contract workers. We provide a modest level of support while they learn to sew, but are helping women to begin their own cottage industries. When women persist in our program and have established a desire to continue sewing, we provide them a sewing machine that they can keep at home. If needed, we also supply an iron and ironing board. In this way, seamstresses can work at home as well as in our shop. We support them by beginning their sales in our store, and continue to support them as they take contracts for specialty items or sell their creations in other local venues. We consider it a great success when seamstresses who are trained in our program decide to start their own businesses or gain employment in a related field or even another field altogether!
Can I volunteer?
We welcome volunteers! We can always use volunteers who can assist newcomers in learning how to sew. We have need of volunteers who can serve as quality control inspectors, who can do laundry, and who can run errands. We need volunteers who can serve on fundraising committees. We appreciate volunteers who make items for the store, or who will bring exciting new sewing or craft ideas and teach our ladies how to make them!
How do you raise funds for the work you do?
Mardi Gras is our annual fundraiser held during the Mardi Gras week. This is a festive event in which the event site is transformed into a little piece of New Orleans. Revelers come dressed in everything from full Mardi Gras costume to casual Oklahoma flannel. The night rocks with food, spirits, dancing and hilarious entertainment.
In late spring we host the popular Purse-n-ali-tea. At a lovely afternoon tea, women in demure tea attire engage in ferocious bidding wars for dozens of hand-crafted purses. These original creations range from the bawdy to elegant! This is a spring event that women of all ages love!