At first glance, it might not seem like much.

"Embroidery floss, beads, scissors, fabrics, solid colored fabrics," said Dawne Hoeg, Stitch Buffalo’s executive director.

But these common household items have quite literally bonded refugee women to the Queen City.

Stitch Buffalo started as a project back in 2014 as a way to give those women a space of their own to learn and share ideas at different textile workshops. 

Now, five years and a storefront later, workshops are open to anyone in the community and many of the refugees have gone from being students to standing in front of workshops as teachers.

"It's an exciting opportunity for Buffalo people to come and have an authentic experience learning from a woman from Thailand or a woman from Burma, where she has learned this skill and is willing to share it with us,” Hoeg said. “Some of their stitches are very different from the ones we do and it's just a beautiful opportunity for a cross-cultural exchange.”

Women also sell their one-of-a-kind, handmade items in the retail space, anything from pins to bracelets and ornaments. 

But every two months, that space gets transformed for Second Stitch.

The nonprofit uses mainly donated materials, and anything they're not able to use is sold to the community.

"What we decided to do is to take those materials, sort them, measure them, organize them and turn them back over to the community at a reduced rate," Hoeg said.

The next Second Stitch sale is July1 13, with all the funds help support the artists and teachers.

They're always accepting more donations any time they're open.

But no matter what project the women make next, or how much they sell it for, the love and support they receive from their adopted hometown is priceless.

"It's the making, but it's also the selling,” Hoeg said. “When you create something and you see that somebody else finds value in it enough to purchase it, that empowers you, that builds a confidence. That's what I see happening with the women here is that they are empowered through the skill and the support they receive from the community.”