Above: Lewis and Ruth Horbath of St. John, Waltz deliver quilts to the boxcar stationed at the District Office in Ann Arbor.
When former Lutheran World Relief (LWR) president John Nunes was chosen to lead the organization in 2007, he asked some of his friends what they knew about LWR. He got answers like, “LWR responds to disasters” and “You know that saying about teaching a person to fish? That’s what LWR does. It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up.” Nunes added: “But by far the most frequent answer I got was, ‘Quilts! LWR sends Quilts to people overseas who need to feel God’s love.’”
Looking back on his 6-year tenure as president of LWR, Nunes agreed that quilts were (and still are) a huge part of LWR’s ministry: “I’ve had the privilege of seeing how quilts transform lives, both of those who make quilts and of those who receive quilts.” LWR created a video that, according to Nunes, “celebrates the connections God creates through the gift of an LWR quilt.” Nunes added, “I believe that connection is part of the enduring power of the LWR Quilt ministry and why Quilts are our most requested item.”
The organization, which began in 1945 by sending quilts to European refugees displaced by World War II, now has partners around the world. Through these partners, LWR provides people with not only quilts, but also basic necessities such as personal care kits, baby kits, school kits, fabric kits, and fleece tied blankets.
Michigan congregations are proud to partner with LWR by making quilts and assembling kits. Every fall, several sites around the state serve as collection points for the ingathering. This year, 9 congregations and 4 schools served in this capacity. The District Office also had a boxcar on site to receive donations.
Once gathered, the supplies travel by train to Baltimore, Maryland where they are temporarily warehoused at a Lutheran World Relief facility until needed in emergency situations in countries around the world, including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Cameroon, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Philippines, Serbia, Syria, Tanzania, and Yemen.
The final tally for this year’s collection in Michigan? “We filled 7 boxcars,” said Pat Schuknecht, Michigan District’s LWR Boxcar Coordinator.
For more information on LWR or how to get involved, visit LWR’s website.
Cover photo by Seth Hinz/Michigan District–LCMS