Greencastle quilts spread warmth around the world

Hands of Love Quilters display the results of a year of labor. Pictured, from left, front row: Sue Miller, Dolores Burkholder, Linda Murray, Cecelia Hoyle, Lorraine Reeder. Back row: Joanne Eberly, Lucille Talhelm, Faye Mentzer, Judy Reed. Not pictured: Dolly Shoemaker, Joyce Elliott, Carolyn Kendle and Sue Resh.

The sanctuary of Evangelical Lutheran Church was transformed the first weekend of October, as 135 quilts adorned the pews and bannisters. The handiwork of the Hands of Love Quilters was dedicated that Sunday, then boxed to be sent to a distribution center in New Windsor, Md. From there Lutheran World Relief sends them around the world.

“The goal is 500,000 quilts from Lutheran churches,” said Joanne Eberly, a member of the crafting group.

A new barcode system allows them to track where their own quilts go, and LWR posts random videos online as any of its colorful blankets are delivered.

“We saw people receiving them in Africa,” said Judy Reed. “It gives you goosebumps.”

The Greencastle donation is from a year of work by 13 ladies, most of them members of ELC. In 2012 they put together 165 quilts. Dolores Burkholder joined the group after seeing the quilts on display during Old Home Week 2007.

Since then she has focused her energies on lap and baby quilts. They are presented to area women and children, including some youngsters who attend Head Start in the church, and local ministries.

Greencastle is a collection point for churches from Marion and Waynesboro. Mark Eberly and Tom Pensinger volunteer to haul the goods to the central receiving point.

Hands of Love meets Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and the duties are split to match the talents.

“All of us fall into a niche,” said Sue Miller. “Some cut, tie knots, sew, design, iron or baste.”

Reed laughed that they were slow learners on one important facet of the gathering, which began in 2006.

“We worked a whole year before we realized we could stop and have a snack.”

The project is funded through the church women’s group annual yard sale, matching funds from charitable organizations, and donations. The women are thrifty, watching for good deals on fabric throughout the year. They find material at auctions, the Salvation Army and from donors. They also accept clean flat sheets, blankets and mattress pads for filling.

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish,” said Miller, as a group of women draped the quilts over every single pew.