HONOLULU (KHON2) — When the pandemic hit in 2020, many people picked up new hobbies or started new businesses while they were stuck at home. One 11-year-old girl decided to do both, and all for a good cause.

“By donating these times, I hope I will put a smile to one of the keiki’s faces,” said Alina van Hooijdonk.

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Before Alina started her business “Sewing the Dream,” she was learning how to sew by watching YouTube videos with her family. One scrunchie turned into 50, which turned into hair ties, wallets and hundreds of other items. With so many accessories, Alina wanted to share them with other people to enjoy.

“What I love about sewing is that there are so many different patterns, prints and projects, and you always have something new to try out and create,” said Alina.

“Sewing the Dream” is a family project: Her mom Sandra helps with cutting, doing the tricky parts and handling the sales; her brother helps with turning the finished products inside out, and her dad helps with starting up funds.

The business name was inspired by the saying “Living the Dream,” which Alina and her family felt after they moved from California to Oahu last year. The logo is a shaka sign, which Alina drew herself, to represent the aloha spirit.

All proceeds are used to buy more supplies to sew items that are then donated to local charities and keiki who are homeless. Recently, Alina donated 133 scrunchies, hair ties and wallets to Project Hawaii, a nonprofit that has been supporting the needs of homeless keiki since 2003.

It took Alina and her family about four weeks to make. The items will be included in Project Hawaii’s Easter baskets for children living in the mountains or along the beaches across the islands.

So far, Alina has donated more than 250 items to charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, The Shelter in Kaneohe and Helping Hands Hawaii. 

Besides purchasing fabric and sewing items, Alina and her family use the profits to buy books from the Kaneohe Public Library during sales. The bookmarks that she makes are then matched up with the books and donated to charities.

“The reason we do the books with the bookmarks is because my brother and I love reading and we want to pass that love on to others,” Alina said.

“Sewing the Dream” items are being sold on Facebook and Instagram, with possible plans to expand on Etsy and local farmers markets.

“We currently have scrunchies, zip-n-scrunchies, hair ties, hairbands, bookmarks, keychains, glasses cases, small wallets, belts and giftbags,” said Sandra. “If anyone is inspired to donate, we are happy to accept fabrics and children’s books in very good condition, and as always: 100% of our profits from our online sales are used for donations.”

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To make a purchase or donation, send them a direct message on their social media accounts or email sewingthedreamhawaii@gmail.com.