Orphaned children in Puerto Rico have received a generous gift of brand new dresses, all handmade by a 99-year-old grandmother in Florida.
“As long as God grants me life and health, I’m happy to do it,” Martha Heft, 99, of Clearwater said in a video posted online by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Heft’s granddaughter Tara Roman and her husband, Sam Roman of the PBCSO, hand-delivered 60 dresses, made out of pillow cases, to the orphaned girls living at Regraso de Paz.
“For us, it’s a blessing to feel care for our kids," said orphanage director Magdalena Jimenez. "People don’t even know them, and for us to receive those dresses, the dresses that a 99-year-old beautiful lady made for them, it’s a blessing.”
Heft has been sewing since she was 5 years old, and was always involved in home economics classes growing up.
As she got older, she became involved in the quilting group at the local Methodist church, and while they started out making blankets, they eventually began making dresses out of pillow cases to be donated to young Haitian girls in need.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico — with a death toll some estimate to more than 70 times the official report — Heft and her quilting group decided to redirect their efforts to help a group there instead.
“They said, ‘You know what? Maybe we can do something for them,'" her daughter, Mary Ann Walker, said.
Along with each dress is a note written in Spanish, telling the recipient that they are loved.
"She’s considered a family treasure, I can tell you that," Walker said. “We’re all very proud of her."