Ben's Bells: Green Valley man, tailor to Casa de los Niños, is honored

Green Valley man sews clothes for children in need
2013-03-30T00:00:00Z Ben's Bells: Green Valley man, tailor to Casa de los Niños, is honoredKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

This week's recipient of Ben's Bell is Michael Stewart.

Stewart, 67, was nominated by his Green Valley neighbors Carmen Towns and John Jacoby, who called him the "perfect candidate" for a bell.

For the last four years, Stewart has been buying fabrics, sewing children's clothes and donating them to Casa de los Niños.

"He has created some adorable dresses, great pants and shirts for boys, and last Christmas he made and donated 80 pairs of flannel pajamas in all sizes," Towns wrote in her nomination letter. "He does not expect any compensation or accolades."

Stewart was humbled and "totally stunned" by the nomination, which he learned about at a neighborhood luncheon.

The retired attorney moved to Tucson in 2003 from Idaho. Four years ago he taught himself to hem his own pants with the help of the Internet and a cheap sewing machine.

He grew to enjoy it so much, he began making his own clothing and bought a better machine.

"I knew I couldn't keep making clothes for myself. I didn't need them," Stewart said.

It dawned on him there were children in need, so he began making clothing for them.

He now makes close to 500 items a year, Stewart said.

"It makes me feel good," Stewart said.

The project

Ben's Bells promote kindness and community. Each week a person who betters Tucson is "belled." Go to bensbells.org/Belling to submit a name.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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