Winters in the Midwest can be unpredictable. One day is warm and sunny, and the next brings a snow storm. Quick changes in weather can be particularly challenging for families who are already struggling with poverty. For those without adequate shelter and heating, cold weather can have severe consequences. Some low-income people struggle to pay their bills and risk losing their heating. For the homeless, sleeping outside in frigid temperatures can be life threatening.
The members of Sunbury United Methodist Church in Sunbury, Ohio take their church’s mission statement seriously: Love and Serve God and All People.
The church has been a long-time supporter of CWS Blankets. Then, in 2012, the members of the congregation felt called to act upon their mission statement and respond to the special needs of their community during the winter. The members of their congregation started a blanket ministry that takes place each year in November.
In 2016, Church World Service provided 200 wool CWS Blankets for the members of Sunbury United Methodist to distribute throughout central Ohio. Under the leadership of Jay Caslow, the church distributed these blankets to Big Walnut Friends Who Share, Faith Mission Homeless Shelter and the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio.
“While growing up, my mother would say during the winter months how grateful our family was to have heating. But not everyone has adequate heating during the cold months of winter. Our church wants to share warmth with others with the simple donations of these blankets. Although we don’t get to meet many of the people who will receive these blankets, we know that they will help to keep the people warm,” said Jay Caslow.
Just down the street from Sunbury United Methodist Church is the Big Walnut Friends Who Share Ministry. This ministry provides food, used clothing, furniture and household items, children’s supplies and other essential family items. These items are distributed to individuals and families in need, free of charge. Barbara Jeffers, founder of the ministry stated that each year she sees an increase in the numbers of families who visit, especially during the winter months.
“We have many families referred to us by congregations and they just don’t have much at all. I had a young mother tell me once that she keeps the thermostat turned down low to save money so she can pay other bills. But she always made sure that her children stayed warm with blankets. These blankets provided by Sunbury United Methodist are perfect. They are heavy and warm,” Barbara said.
In her words, “I am so happy for this generous donation of wool blankets from Church World Service. Together, we can help families have a warm winter. Thanks!”