The Dress

The Dress

By Tammye Hamilton

It's a simple cotton with tiny white polka dots and white twirls when she walks and makes her feel oh so pretty.

Our daughter Naomi has spent her life caring for victimized women and children. Today, her ministry, Safe Refuge, gives shelter to dozens of rescued women and children in the Philippines. 


Every morning, young mothers and children, crawl out of warm, safe beds to eat a hot breakfast, don a clean, crisp uniform and head off to school. Before Safe Refuge, few had ever slept in a bed or had enough to eat. None were protected and most had only attended a few years of school, if any. 

I don't remember where the dress came from, it has been so long now. Anna is 13 and she was only five when she wore it. One day it was just too small so I put in a bag for Safe Refuge and it made its way to the Philippines for the precious girls of Safe.

The first time Naomi sent a picture of one of her girls wearing it, I cried. The poignancy of seeing the rescued child smiling up at me in Anna's red polka dotted dress was too much for me. Purchased as just one more pretty thing for a typical American girl, it crossed the miles to make her feel pretty, too.

It's not fair that my children were born to privilege and most of the world's children were not. It can't make sense that some are loved and protected while many are not. Yet, it is the reality of our fallen, sin-drenched world.

66 million children go hungry every day across the developing world. There are an estimated 6 million children in slavery.

As believers in Jesus, we can make a difference. This season when we have more than enough as we celebrate the blessings God has given us, we can remember the hungry, the needy, those who have less. We can make our gratitude tangible by helping others.

As we plan our budgets and buy our Christmas gifts, we can make sure we include the children who will not receive the same abundance as our children and grandchildren. We can also make others aware of ways to bless those in need. 

If you would like to make a difference for the mothers and children of Safe Refuge, you can give at

If you would like to help needy families in our local community this season, you can contact the Salvation Army at 772-978-0265 or Pastor Larry Boan at Central Assembly at 772-562-4505

Over the years, more of Anna's dresses have found their way to the girls of Safe Refuge. That first precious one, who was undernourished and very sick with gonorrhea and chlamydia when she came to Safe, is a gifted, thriving eighth grader who loves Jesus.

Every now and then, in pictures, I catch a glimpse of another little sweetie twirling in the red polka dotted dress with white trim. Once again, I thank God that she is safe. And yes, I cry every single time.

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. Isaiah 58:10