AKRON  The ladies of WOW – Women for Oppressed Women – have been sowing seeds that travel throughout the world for the last nine years.

On Oct. 12, the WOW ladies held their Sew & Sow craft show. The event, designed to raise funds to help oppressed women in the area and the world, was held at The Chapel in Akron.

WOW is a ministry of The Chapel Campuses which works to encourage women of all ages to flourish in the church and beyond. The women of WOW, which there are 20, equip women to imitate Christ and empower them to be missional. 

“We are a fundraising awareness building group of women for the poor and oppressed,” said WOW Director Kathie Brown.

The ministry was first founded in 2011 and to date, before its Sew & Sow event, the WOW ladies have raised more than $350,000. Their ventures have included, a safe house for human trafficking victims in Greater Akron, to a family home for 25 orphans in Cambodia.

The name Sew & Sow Craft Show was created because it began as a ministry with an original project to raise funds to establish an agricultural microenterprise in Africa. Maynard said WOW had been doing a project with the women in an African village sewing and making purses. From the seed money it earned making purses, WOW then held a Purse Party selling new and gently loved purses, increasing its funds and sowing seeds in Africa. 

It went from their efforts of sewing the purses in Africa, to a purse party in Akron, sewing together the hearts of the women across the continents.

“What we do in the church, is to encourage women to get up out of the pew and come together and make a difference in the lives of the poor and oppressed," Brown said. “We are very much a part of the church. We could not do this without this church and each other,” said Brown, adding WOW is successful because of the melding of each lady’s talents together as one group to benefit those in need.

Alongside the craft show and purse party the ladies earn project money through hosting Journal Jam and Java. “JAM” gatherings are for those wishing to learn more about journaling and then the Wow ladies sell homemade journals.

“We share with others what we have learned about journaling,” said Brown. “Everything at the fundraisers are donated and all monies collected go to help others, there are no administrative costs."

Those attending the Sew & Sow Craft Show had the opportunity to purchase gifts and goods either made by or donated by the WOW members such as hand-painted, decorative windows, rags to enriched wreaths made from upcycled sewing scraps, fresh flower terrariums, word art, handmade arts and crafts from Cambodia, India, Africa and many more items. The show featured about 30 local and global artisans. Lunch was served at the Craft Show Café offering a variety of soups. The popular homemade doughnut bar was a hit among show attendees as each had an opportunity to decorate their own sweet treats to eat or take home. If the doughnuts were not enough sweetness, the Bountiful Baked Goods counter offered many varieties of homemade sweets.

The Sew & Sow visitors were also offered an opportunity to join in Creativity Clinics that were available throughout the day. The clinics offered the “how to” of the selected craft and the crafters were able to take home their self-made treasure.

Chapel Campuses are in Akron, Green, Cuyahoga Falls, Kenmore and Wadsworth. Brown said its direction comes from the Akron Chapel and the 20 members of WOW come from the Akron, Green and Wadsworth campuses. Kenmore and Cuyahoga Falls are newer and smaller campuses.

“Every event we do is to raise funds to do mercy projects both locally and globally,” said Brown.

Maynard gave examples of its projects which included and outreach to youth in Wadsworth, a discipleship trip for youth, First Glance serving unwed young moms, hosting a Vacation Bible School for students in Akron City Schools surrounding the Akron Campus and helping to support refuge children. Cuyahoga Falls participated in a Cool Day project where volunteers go into a neighborhood and do exterior home fixer upper projects and a soccer camp.  In Green, the women are reaching out and finalizing a project for the Briarwood area that would serve children.

For more information on WOW, visit http://wow-ministry.org/.