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Socially Awkward Timelords’ calendar to help Humane Society

January 25, 2019

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — The Socially Awkward Timelords are all about sewing and creative projects, and the group has done at least one project each year for the past three years to benefit a local charitable project or nonprofit organization.

This year, the group put their heads together and — combining their mutual love of costume design — came up with a project to have fun with fabric while benefiting the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.

“It’s just a little way we can give back,” coordinator Charisse Campbell said.

Campbell said ads were sold to 24 local businesses and members who support both TLHS and the Socially Awkward Timelords to help pay for the custom-made calendar featuring shelter dogs in costumes.

Campbell fosters dogs from the shelter, so the cause was close to her heart.

“At our very first foster experience ... before Halloween, she mentioned something about a superhero costume for her dog. That was it right there. I thought that could be our project,” Campbell said.

Campbell used her own dogs to get measurements for some of the shelter dogs volunteered for the project, and club members got to work designing, cutting fabric and sewing the costumes. Each costume took approximately four hours to complete and Campbell worked with members in small groups to get the job done.

“It was more like private sewing lessons,” Campbell joked. “Some kids had never sewn before and other kids had been familiar with sewing over the years and helped a couple of kids with their projects.”

Club members got together to brainstorm ideas. Costumes chosen included Marvel Comics characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine and Squirrel Girl, as well as DC Comics characters such as Aquaman, Starfire and Nightwing.

The dogs were brought by shelter staff in small groups and received plenty of playtime with the club members in between the fittings. Kyleigh McKee said there were some challenges with the project.

“Keeping the dogs still, making sure everything closes and just keeping them in the costume really,” said Kyleigh McKee, who created a Starfire costume for a small white, fox-like dog named Winifred.

“She was the cutest little thing,” McKee said.

Tremont High School student Sean Williams designed and sewed by hand the Nightwing costume for his dog volunteer, who he said was particularly hyper.

“Different people have been Robin throughout the years, but one of them wanted to become a superhero on his own, so he became Nightwing. He wears a black suit with a blue eagle, depending on where you are seeing him,” Williams said.

Most of the dogs who were volunteered for the project have been adopted, except for one or two.

The proceeds from the calendar will go to TLHS and the club hopes to raise $3,000 for the shelter with the project. The group printed 250 calendars with 85 sold so far.

Fabric is donated from advertisements through Heirlooms Forever and leftover sale items from Busylad Rent-All, who Campbell says is their biggest supporter. Not much fabric was needed to clothe the generally small animal volunteers. The group also asked for textile donations on their Facebook page.

Each year, the group also holds a book fair at Barnes & Noble to raise money to buy manga books for the Lee County Library. Campbell said, to date, the club has donated $3,500 worth of manga and said as a result, the Tupelo library has the largest selection of manga in the state.

“These books get requested through interlibrary loans around the state and are sometimes so requested that they circulate through the Mississippi Public Library system for months before returning,” Campbell said.

The group started five years ago and is a special project of the CREATE Foundation. The club typically has its meetings in the Lee County Library.

“But this is our third year that we are functioning independently of the library,” Campbell said.

The calendars are $20 each and the group will spend several Saturdays at Petco in Tupelo from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. selling the calendars, sometimes with the help of their new shelter dog friends.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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