Once a month, Michael Swaine, a college art teacher, sets up a sewing machine on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco to mend clothes for the struggling residents, for free. For 15 years, he has been paying forward for the antique sewing machine he found discarded on a curb. Where most people see drugs, crime and homelessness on the streets of the Tenderloin, Swaine sees beauty and magic. The sewing machine has become more than a tool for mending - it is a tool for connection, stories, and building community.


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  • Sue

    a simple act of kindness

  • Acynta

    The joy of providing service to others

  • Mary Lou Prillaman

    What an inspiration!!! I sew for a living, high end stuff. This makes me want to hit the street. Everyone needs to give back to this World. And left it, in better shape, than when they entered. Mary Lou, seamstress in Roanoke, VA

  • Bilkis

    How wonderful to give your time for others happiness

  • Gwen J

    What a wonderful act of charity Michael is giving and sharing.

  • Jyoti

    When you mend something, it mends you too. Try it.

  • Goldielocks

    Giving and doing things for others makes him feel good and he feels wanted and appreciated.

  • Trishita

    In this too much commercial and individualistic world, there are also some individuals who think beyond his/her own profit and care about society and its people. There is a rays of hope that some people's humanitarian value will always protect the world human society. Michael's work is really inspiring.

  • naia

    The man himself is the healer of torn lives i applaud him

  • miller

    Wonderful ! Deep respect for people like Michael. For me a trigger to look around me and to help to change the world by little drops of kindness. Thank you so much for this encouragement.

  • Deepak

    Thank you . Kindness in action . Impacted .

  • mel

    How wonderful! This is so cool and love that old style machine. Kind people make the world a better place to live .

  • Jerry Foster-Pitts

    his peaceful, respectful, unassuming approach to serving the poor. Priceless!

  • Lynn

    The world needs more people like him. As one who has lived on the streets in the past, I can tell you that the appreciation for what he does goes far beyond words. This is someone who shows what they believe by what they do. Something as simple as a man with a sewing machine can change lives.

  • Maria D

    What I see is love for what he does and connection with the community he serves.

  • Larry Sherk

    To me Michael's secret is not that he is doing things others appreciate, but that he is enjoying fitting himself into the story of his surroundings. That is taking joy for yourself by becoming part of the human race. Some don't get it, but it's true: love is all there is.

  • Rev. Clare Luke

    Service to our fellow beings is the highest calling and a perfect antidote to the "me" generation's self centeredness. Such service is angelic and blesses the giver as well as the receiver. Swaine has earned his stars and hopefully inspires those he helps to "pay it forward". He is indeed a blessing to humankind.

  • soumya bhaskara

    What an ingenious beautiful idea! It just goes to show that when you have a pure intention to do good- anything is possible. Love your work Michael, you are SUCH an inspiration.

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  • Learn more about Michael Swaine's "Reap What You Sew Generosity Project."
  • Simply Women and Girls in a Sustainable (SWAGS) World connects artisans with responsible markets for products that carry a story.
  • What might you use as a tool for connection in your community? Joining a community garden? Volunteering at a soup kitchen? Reach out today.

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