These threads give hope


Minimum wage in South Dakota is $7.25. Six states in the United States have a minimum wage over $8. Imagine earning $0.20 an hour. That is exactly what the women in the Philippines earn for their work in making hand crafted bracelets.

Threads of Hope is the product of Alex and Chris Kuhlow, a husband and wife missionary team from Wisconsin. They have been serving the Philippines since 1998. However, in 2003, Threads of Hope was created. Alex and Chris went to the island of Mindoro to the city of Puerto Galera. There, they befriended a local family who, instead of selling its children, generally aged 8-14, into the underground trafficking realm, made wares and relied on people purchasing them. Alex did just that. He gave the family $100 for bracelets. He had no idea how many he would get or if he would even get them. The next time he visited the family, he was shocked to be handed 1,300 bracelets.

The women can make four bracelets an hour. Each bracelet costs $0.03 to make and is sold for $0.08. They then earn $0.05 per piece. This is enough for a solid income that can help provide food, clean water, clothes and keeps children out of prostitution.

The bracelets then come to the US and are sold, with the proceeds returning back to the people of the Philippines. The money raised can provide schooling, medical care and nutrition to those who cannot do it themselves. 1,200 bracelets can provide income for a month to a family.

The University Program Council and Children’s Miracle Network have teamed up with Threads of Hope to help raise money. Each bracelet is being sold for $2.00,  $1.00 goes to Threads of Hope and the other goes to CMN.

Mechanical engineering freshman Jordan Erickson of White Bear Lake, Minn., suggested the idea to UPC.

“We chose Threads of Hope because an UpClose member suggested it,” said Community Service Coordinator ReAnn Arcand. “Threads of Hope also lets you keep half of the profits for your personal organization.”

Erickson got involved with Threads of Hope in fifth grade as a part of his church.

“I was that fifth-grader,” he said. “I just started researching it and found out more and fell in love with the program.”

Erickson has been with the organization ever since and continually works with it. However, he has no plans to go to the Philippines for missions.

“The fact that I can be a message carrier over here is enough for me,” he said. “$2 to save the life of a little kid, in my opinion, is not too much money.”

Threads of Hope also has other products available including bookmarks, larger bracelets, bracelets with beads and necklaces.

The bracelets will be available from 11 a.m.  to 2 p.m. every day in The Union and can be purchased after those times by stopping by the UPC office. For more information, contact ReAnn Arcand at 605-688-6173. For more information on Threads of Hope visit: