99-Year-Old Woman To Make 1,000 Dresses For Charity In The Next Year

| by Amanda Schallert

On her hundredth birthday, Lillian Weber plans to complete her thousandth personalized dress for a girl in Africa.

Over the past two years, Weber has crafted more than 800 child-sized dresses in her farm house. She normally makes one per day, stitching the patterned fabric with an original design to give it a personalized touch, according to

“It’s just one of those things you learn how to do and enjoy,” she said.

Weber will turn 100 on May 6 next year.

“She personalizes them all,” said Linda Purcell, Weber’s daughter.  “It’s not like good enough that she makes the dresses, she has to put something on the front to make it look special, to give it her touch.”

“I’m amazed at (my mother) every day,” Purcell added. “I’m very, very proud of my mother.”

Weber sends the dresses to young girls in Africa through the Michigan-based Christian charity group “Little Dresses for Africa.” The organization has given out 2,5 million dresses since it was established in 2008, said Rachel O’Neill, the group’s founder.

Tonya Urbatsch, one of Weber’s friends, nominated her for the “Pay It Forward” award this year.

“I just think she’s somebody to look up to, somebody who’s not just sitting around and frittering her life away,” Urbatsch said.

Though 1,000 dresses is her current goal for next year, Weber said she hopes to continue even after she turns 100.

“When I get to that thousand, if I’m able to,” she said. “I won’t quit. I’ll go at it again because there’s no reason to not do nothing.”

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