Columbus Eastwood Women Make Quilts for Preemies
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Sometimes a ministry begins by happenstance. This was the case five years ago when leaders from the Women’s Ministries team of the Columbus Eastwood church made too many quilts for their annual campout. A church member inquired about purchasing the extra quilts to take them on her regular visits to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. “I told her, ‘Absolutely not!’” said member and spokesperson Lois Ruth. “‘You cannot buy them, but we will give them to you’ ... and that was when we realized what we needed to do [with the quilts].”
Ruth and others partnered with Brenda Fortner, leader of the Columbus Eastwood Women’s Ministries. “Brenda has a heart for babies,” says Ruth. “Babies just seem to flock to her.” Once the ladies used the original inventory of quilts, they began meeting one Sunday a month to make more quilts and blankets for premature babies from the local hospital.
“Just thinking about the babies and the pictures we receive of the moms and babies warms our hearts,” shares Ruth. “You just want to bless people and ease their pain as much as you can. If one of these little, tiny quilts can help do that, then we are happy to get together once a month.”
Church and community members donate funds and material for this cause. The ladies use some of the funds to purchase discounted material. Women of all ages, experienced seamstresses and novices alike, spend several hours making beautiful creations for strangers. Once completed, members pray over, attach custom-made tags identifying the church ministry and transport quilts to the hospital for delivery.
Ruth’s daughter, Laura, and her friend Taylor Antle, active members of Columbus Eastwood, are two of the next generation helping with this project. “I’ve always been told that Women’s Ministries is for older women,” says Antle, “but I’ve realized in the last couple of years that that’s not true; it’s meant for all of us ... and I want that [sense of] community.”
Ruth shares that one of the most touching stories is about a child with spina bifida who had been confined to the hospital since birth. This little boy received one of the Columbus Eastwood quilts. His parents wrapped him up in the lovingly made creation, and he beamed. “He had the biggest smile! He loved the fabric!” says Ruth. Quilt by quilt, child by child, the ladies of the Columbus Eastwood Women’s Ministries are showing God’s love to children and parents in a real and practical way.