Perry UMC youth make blankets for children in foster care
By Kara Witherow, Editor
On a wet, rainy Wednesday evening a few weeks ago, youth at Perry United Methodist Church spent the evening inside, serving others.
They cut, tied, worked, and worshiped, but above all, they shared the love of Christ as they made 20 blankets to give children who will be entering the foster care system.
Measuring about a yard and a half long, each no-sew fleece blanket takes four people about half an hour to make. Two youth cut fringe and another two tied knots. Soon, colorful blankets with mermaids, Disney characters, flowers, and animals were complete.
“I absolutely love it,” said 16-year-old Mae McClain, of the youth group’s blanket ministry. “It’s something fun we can do that’s not too labor-intensive. I think it’s super awesome that we can make blankets for people. I really feel like we’re doing God’s work when we make these blankets because they remind people that it’s not just you. There’s a God who loves you so much.”
Service is the heartbeat of Perry UMC’s youth ministry, says youth minister Nichole Lawson. The blanket ministry is just one way the youth serve others, she said.
They’ve served at a local food bank, made health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and made casseroles for those in hospice.
“Serving others is being the hands and feet of Jesus, it’s us putting into action what we’re learning on Wednesdays and Sundays,” Lawson said. “We’re not just keeping the love of Jesus to ourselves or in our group, but we’re really being intentional about spreading the love of Christ outside the walls.”
Part of the focus on service is teaching students that they can make a difference in the world by serving, she said.
“For me, serving others really is the heart and soul of what we do in this youth group.”
Lawson, who began serving as Perry UMC’s youth minister in August, says the blanket ministry will be ongoing and the group will make them once a semester. The youth enjoy mission work, she says, because it gives them an opportunity to help others.
“They love giving back. They love an opportunity to serve. They like getting their hands dirty. That might look like painting the new missions building, but more often it’s doing things like making blankets or assembling health kits. They like serving others,” Lawson said. “They like knowing that what they’re doing will help and comfort another person.”
Lauren Haley Black, a 16-year-old junior at the Westfield School in Perry, says that serving others is a tangible way to live out her faith.
“It’s a good way to help our community and be a light for Christ for those who may have never experienced his love or may not truly understand what his love means.”