OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — For the members of the Macedonia Baptist Church Quilting Ministry, they weren’t going to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to end what was started about 15 years ago.
Judy Martin, who’s been with the group for about six years, said they have been able to produce quilts despite not being able to have their in-person meetings.
“We each have our jobs for making these quilts,” Martin said. “Like I usually make the tops for them, another lady would quilt them and we had another lady who put the binding on it and sew on the label. So we would meet each other in parking lots during this COVID and do a hand-off. We’re basically all connected still.”
The quilting ministry started small with Linda Ford and Sue Sublett.
Ford said the first quilts were sent to the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, a nonprofit that “accepts seriously ill children who could not even be considered for other programs.”
“They wanted their beds to not look like hospital beds but like home,” Ford said.
Since then, the ministry has grown over the years, averaging about 20 members and meeting weekly on Tuesdays at the church in Owensboro.
The group has also expanded to donating quilts to other causes such as Hospice, homeless shelters and Care Net. And they’ve added quilts for veterans and fidget blankets for Alzheimer’s patients.
“To us, a quilt provides comfort and warmth,” Martin said. “It’s also a great way to spread the ministry of Jesus Christ because we put labels on our quilts so they know where they come from. And if they need to reach out to somebody, they have a name of a caring church.”
Before joining the quilting ministry, Martin, a cancer survivor, said she was making throws for the Owensboro Health Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center. The group now makes quilts for the cancer center’s patients.
“It just struck me as I was receiving chemo, and while I was looking around, people were asking for blankets,” Martin said. “What they got was old, white hospital blankets. And I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice if they had something bright, cheerful, more homey and comfy.’ ”
During the pandemic, the group also made face coverings and donated them to health care workers, churches and neighbors. If the group did receive any cash donations for the masks, the proceeds were given to the church’s food bank.
Barbara Kerchevall, who’s been a member for about eight years, estimated more than 2,500 masks were made through the ministry.
“I personally made over 650 and I know another lady who made more than I did,” Kerchevall said.
Kerchevall said the group has been having discussions about meeting again in-person, possibly as soon as sometime in March.
“Most of us are in the process of getting our vaccine,” said Kerchevall, who’s already received her booster. “After we all get the vaccine, we’ll feel more comfortable about getting together again.”
Along with gathering for their weekly quilt meetings again, the group hopes to have its quilt and craft show in November, which provides the funding for the quilts. COVID forced the cancellation of the 2020 show.
Kerchevall said anyone can join the group whether or not they sew or attend Macedonia. The group can be contacted through its Facebook page — www.facebook.com/mbcquilters.
“It’s just people who are interested in giving back,” Kerchevall said.