Stitching and knotting in Marion brings comfort to those in need around the world

Greencastle women are part of the volunteer force at Cumberland Valley Relief Center. Pictured, from left: Janet Crider, Beth Shaull in background, and Connie Bishop work on different sewing projects for international relief.

During its Comforter Blitz on Feb. 24, the Cumberland Valley Relief Center hopes to finish 100 warm blankets for international recipients.

The bi-annual event takes place at 4225 Molly Pitcher Highway, and welcomes anyone who can tie a knot.

Benefit from receiving the comforters would be immediate, said center director Diane Brockman.

“Because of the Middle East crisis and winter, there is a great need in the Syria and Lebanon refugee camps,” she said.

With shipping taking up to a month, a sense of urgency prevailed to get the items to the suffering people.

On a weekly basis, perhaps 50 people walk through the doors to help with various projects. They make comforters, quilts and rugs, and assemble kits containing supplies for hygience or school needs. Each March up to 400 people assist in the meat canning project, processing 45,000 pounds of turkey to distribute to poor nations and areas hit by disaster.

“We do this in the name of Christ,” Brockman said. “We are all God’s children and we’re trying to assist those a world away.”

Beth Shaull, Greencastle, has  been helping out for a couple months. She ran a serger recently, making children’s T-shirts.

“I love volunteering, giving to others when you are blessed yourself,” she said.

Ann and Bud Caldwell, Chambersburg, were in the corner where rugs are woven. The money raised from selling them went toward purchasing items for the various kits. The couple has volunteered for over seven years.

Melvin Gayman, Chambersburg, cut diapers from pretty pink flannel. He and his wife Monna have served for a couple years.

“We are retired and it gives us something to do,” he said.

The Blitz

The last time around, about 77 volunteers showed up in one day to work on the comforters. This year organizers again hope a sufficient number of people contribute to the effort between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Though the destination is chosen for this drive, in the past, recipients of CVRC food and material aid have also been in Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe and North Korea.

The organization works in cooperation with Mennonite Central Committee, which has been in existence since World War I.

Janet Crider, Greencastle, has been a part of the mission for 15 years.

“There is a lot of contentment because you know you are helping people in third world countries. It’s a good feeling,” she said.