(image above: Alice cutting the ribbon at the ANM Sewing Center dedication)
Imagine a cancer survivor who has to take long naps every day. She goes to bed early to get enough sleep. On days that she is busy, she has to pace herself and possibly take the next day to rest. Her life is less productive than she wants it to be. But instead of focusing on her limitations, Alice has focused on what she can do for the Lord. And she has done a great deal for the Lord and His Kingdom.
Alice attended the 2012 ANM retreat in Wintergreen, Virginia, where she met and talked with Danny and Cita Montes from the Philippines about the needs of their ministry. She asked, “What do you need? Is there any way I can help you?”
Cita shared of the great poverty in the Philippines. The need for food, clothes, shoes, etc., is great. She told Alice, “We don’t even have blankets to cover ourselves when we lie down to sleep. And often we sleep on the ground.”
Even though the temperature in the Philippines is warm, at night it is cooler and there is a need for light covers for sleeping.
Alice remembered what it was like as a child to have a favorite “blankie” to snuggle with, to wrap up in and feel comforted and loved. She pictured a Filippino child or adult snuggled in a blankie, knowing that someone cared about them and loved them enough to sew a blankie. Thus the “Blankie Project” was born in her heart. She thought, “This is something I can do!”
Alice began to develop an idea for blankets for children, especially refugees, in the Philippines and beyond. There were several conditions to keep in mind: the blankets needed to be lightweight because they would be washed out by hand and needed to dry quickly; they could not take up a lot of space, as many people might share a space to sleep in; and it would be good for them to be bright and cheerful to minister to people who have lost everything. She said, “I was so thrilled that I could do something with my hands, and my heart was just filled with joy. Every day I got out of bed, excited that I could sew blankets.”
Alice began to collect old used sheets, pillowcases, and cotton fabric. She tore the sheets to manageable sizes and matched them to other sheets of the same size. She put the fabrics together for sewing and then turned the blanket inside-out. She then top-stitched the outside to make the blanket more sturdy.
A year and a half later, Alice has sewn and sent 734 blankets to the Philippines. Now she is sharing the vision to help refugees and passing the work to others. Alice has shared this project with other ladies who sew. Several ladies in Virginia have become excited about the project, including a quilting group in Crozet and the ladies of one local church in Crozet. Some groups, including a ladies Bible study group in Ivy and a businesswomen’s group in Charlottesville, donated sheets, thread, and boxes. Some people who don’t sew have helped tear sheets and match them to prepare for sewing.
Many hands make light work, and we invite you to add your hands to this effort. The potential to comfort, bless, and cheer is so great. We hope to send 10,000 blankets to the Philippines, to Jordan for Syrian refugees, and to Ghana and Liberia.