Global charity sows local unity
A thousand dresses.
Transformed from bed sheets, pillowcases, lace tidbits and other odds and ends, many of the handmade frocks left Baxter Tuesday morning, Oct. 9, on the way to women and girls in need across the world.
A project spearheaded by the First Baptist Church, the recycled, donated linens will support missions in the field. Several missionaries associated with the church are spread about in far-flung places—the Philippines, India, Peru, Spain, Austria, Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, Germany, Zambia, Liberia and Canada.
While the venture is set to impact numerous lives in its own right, on the local front, it grew to include several other area organizations in a chain of charitable action. The donated linens themselves originated from the Dorcas Thrift Store, operated by the Brainerd Seventh-day Adventist Church. Then, a 93-year-old volunteer delivered them to Baptist parishioner JoAnne Flom, who sifted through to find the patterns and colors for the repurposed garments they would become.
Flom delivered the materials to fellow churchgoers Betty Wolhart and Joyce Wold, who together sewed all of the approximately 1,000 dresses. But Flom faced a quandary: what should be done with the leftover bedding and other linens piled up in her home?
She soon connected with a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and learned they could use some of the leftovers to make blankets for their own mission fields. Then, Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Garrison took more for the making of their own mission quilts. With leftovers still lingering, Flom learned of a need for pillowcases and sheets at the Christian-based recovery center, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.
What began as a project with one goal in mind, transformed into an expression of faith involving multiple communities and a number of congregations working together.