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Opening the Hearts

Opening the Hearts of the Community

Ellen Lafferty

St. George’s Anglican Church in Helmetta, NJ is finding ways to reach out and show the love and compassion of Christ to our community and beyond.

I have been able to direct the women of St. George’s to touch the lives of needy children, the homeless, the elderly, the orphans and children in foster care. The giving of handmade winter hats and blankets began several years ago in another Parish and after coming to St. George’s it continues to blossom and spread.

Ladies are gathering for crochet mornings and evenings with many learning crochet for the first time and others restarting a set aside hobby.

The hats are given to such places as Day Cares, Food Pantries, Schools, Shelters, Orphanages and to New Borns in Hospitals and have gone throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, (some are on the way to Kentucky now) and have traveled the world to several places in Kenya, Ghana, China and India.

Baby blankets are made for mission fields, orphanages and hospitals and will be going to local babies in foster care. Handkerchiefs and dishcloths are made for those in Kenya and Ghana where disposable tissues that we take for granted are not available. The dishcloths are greatly appreciated for washing, cooking and cleaning.

A new project for this year will be 150 handmade children’s pillowcases for the foster children of Middlesex County, NJ. Many of these children travel from place to place with no personal items and these will be comforting gifts they can keep and take with them. One of the wonderful things about these projects is that everyone can be involved. Many that do not crochet shop yard sales for yarn. Others purchase yarn and both men and women donate money to be used to purchase yarn to be used by our women.

Those who don’t sew, offer to come to the Rectory to iron or package the finished projects. We have seen wonderful things happen by a simple bag of hats being given to a teacher, or being welcomed into a Nursing Home to do ministry because we gathered gifts and supplies for the residents. When a relationship is built, people open their hearts and allow you to speak into them. The door for the Gospel CAN be opened by a crochet hook, a sewing machine or a knitting needle.

I encourage every parish to take an inventory of the gifts of the hands of their people. Look for ways to reach out into your community with love by meeting simple, meaningful needs of hurting people.

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