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Scottsboro group’s ‘comfort quilts’ provide warmth, security for those in crisiscomment (0)

March 11, 2010

By Kristen Lindsey

The Sewing Circle began very innocently.

Made up of mostly elderly women from Calvary Baptist Church, Scottsboro, the group began meeting weekly in the late 1980s to share a common interest — sewing and quilting — and a time of fellowship, including a short testimony and prayer time.

But God had a greater mission for the group who has touched hundreds of lives locally, nationally and internationally.

It was about five years ago when the Sewing Circle made its first “comfort quilt.”

“The drug meth became so prevalent in north Alabama, and many children had to be taken out of homes because of it. So we got together with the (Jackson County) Department of Human Resources (DHR) and started making comfort quilts for the children,” said Betty Hamrick, coordinator of the Sewing Circle.

To date, 76 children have received a quilt and not just those from methamphetamine homes but every infant, toddler and young child who has come through the doors of DHR, said Sheenia Little, director of the Jackson County DHR. In fact, a quilt is one of the first things a child receives.

“These quilts are something they can keep and take with them when they leave our care,” Little said, noting the children come into DHR’s care with very little.

Each quilt says, “Jesus loves _______,” followed by “Calvary Baptist Church, Scottsboro.” Once a quilt is given to a child, someone from DHR or a foster parent writes his or her name in the blank.

“It’s a way of extending our love and letting them know that Jesus loves them,” Hamrick said. “We pray over the quilts and talk about the children who will receive [them].”

Little, who has seen the impact the quilts have had on children, said they are a good resource for DHR.

“I believe these quilts provide a sense of comfort and security to these children,” she said. “I think the quilts make them feel special knowing that someone made the quilt especially for them.”

But the comfort quilts were just the launching pad for a full-out ministry.

Since June 2005, the Sewing Circle has made quilts for a New Orleans’ homeless shelter day care and a missions trip to Maine, blankets for the local hospital nursery and crisis pregnancy center and cross bookmarks to send to an International Mission Board representative in East Asia. All of these items were made from donated materials.

Just this past year, the group began making lap bibs for hospice patients and those in assisted-living facilities.

In December, it completed 50 quilts to send to the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona with Tennessee River Baptist Association this summer.

The group’s next project is to make 50 quilts to send to the Copper Basin Crisis Center, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Appalachian Regional Ministry in Tennessee.

Robert Gamble, pastor of Calvary Baptist, pointed out that these women have a gift and a talent and are using it for the Lord.

“There is something very personal about a quilt. Each stitch is done by hand,” Gamble said. “It’s one of those expressions of love for Christ that should be expressed in everything we do as Christians. [These women] are not only doing it but (they are also) teaching others how to use their skills and abilities to help share the gospel and love of Christ with others.”

In January, the Sewing Circle started a satellite group at a local assisted-living facility. Currently there are two to three women involved, and in just a month’s time, they finished three quilts.

“[This is] a means of doing something for someone else and also a means of helping these ladies find a useful mission,” Hamrick said.

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