A little more than ten years ago, a handful of ladies from Community Heights Alliance Church took a hobby and turned it into an outreach ministry program, benefitting people both here in Newton and around the world.
For more than a decade, a group of CMA parishioners has met each Wednesday afternoon to design, sew and donate handmade quilts to various families and organizations, including the Pregnancy Center of Central Iowa, an Indian reservation in South Dakota, and families impacted by the Colfax floods of 2010.
Judy Parsons explained how one church member’s trip to Mexico jump-started the idea.
“Larry Walker had gone to Mexico and spoke at the pulpit in our church saying there was a great need for blankets,” she said. “God spoke and told us this was something we could do.”
Since the group — which was comprised of both quilting veterans and rookies — first came together, they’ve completed more than 2,000 quilts, each of which was donated to a worthy cause.
Each quilt itself is entirely crafted of donated materials, according to Parsons.
“Everything we work with is donated,” she said. “We’ve been very blessed.”
Just a few years after the quilting group began meeting, a second group began meeting each Tuesday, but with a different craft as its focus.
In 2005, another group of ladies — some of them already involved in the quilting ministry — began recycling old greeting cards into new cards for every occasion.
By cutting the front and the verses inside each card out and transferring them to cardstock, new and pristine greeting cards are born, Glennys Ward explained.
“We send well over 100 greeting cards a month,” Parsons added. “At Christimastime, we make nice new cards to take to the nursing homes for their residents to send to their loved ones.” In addition, the group sends birthday cards to each registered member of CMA via a birthday database compiled by the church.
It doesn’t stop at birthdays, though. The ladies make cards for every occasion from new baby arrivals to weddings, Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day and every holiday in between. In fact, a file cabinet in the CMA craft room sits packed to the brim with finished cards, sorted by occasion.
While the recipients of the greetings often rave about them, many of the ladies in the group find meeting and crafting cards to be quite rewarding as well.
“Everyone we send them to gives us such great compliments, but my true pleasure is in making the cards,” Pat Danley said. “It’s hard for me to see how they can love getting them more than I love making them,” she added with a laugh.
Overall, being involved in the groups could be summed up by one three-fold experience for Nancy Douglas.
“It’s good ministry and good fellowship,” she said. “You know that by doing something you love, you’re helping people.”
For more information about either group or to donate fabric, sheets, card materials or envelopes, contact the CMA church office at (641) 792-1620.
Staff reporter Nicole Wiegand may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at firstname.lastname@example.org via email.