How do LWR Quilts & Kits get from the U.S. to the places they’re needed?

School children in Damascus, Syria show off their new School Kits

Who makes Quilts & Kits and why? How do your Quilts & Kits warm a home, improve livelihoods and share knowledge hundred to thousands of miles away?

Take a moment to listen to the lives touched by LWR Quilts & Kits in this video.

On Motivations

Everyone has their own motivation for making quilts and building kits. For Abby and Christian, they understand that young leaders can help make a positive impact in the world. They feel part of something larger through sending Personal Care Kits that can prevent the spread of illnesses, and School Kits that make education more affordable.

Loretta has made with Quilts & Kits since the mid-1960s and hopes her lovingly made items will be blessings to recipients because it’s “a blessing to be able to share.”

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Jane Morris Brown offers a Quilt Blessing at St. Matthews in Ohio.
Jane Morris Brown offers a Quilt Blessing at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Ohio.

Many of us see the hardships and challenges that our neighbors face and want to make a positive difference, but do not know how. Volunteering for LWR’s Quilts & Kits Ministry is an easy way for people to get involved and feel impactful – from thrifty shopping for supplies and gathering sheets, like Judy and Maureen, to sewing, to packing a kit and helping with shipping costs.

A Circle of Service

“Going to school for the first time opens up a whole new world for you.” Elsie Stromberg recalls receiving a school kit that made it possible for her to attend class.  Elsie was separated from her parents during World War II and was a child refugee. Her father found her many years later and they moved to the U.S. She now makes Quilts & Kits for people who are in the position she was in. It is painful for her to see such violence continuing to disrupt the lives of so many people. For Elsie, education is the number one priority – “If you educate people, you hopefully decrease the violence in the world.”

School children in Damascus, Syria show off their new School Kits
School children in Damascus, Syria show off their new School Kits.

The Journey

Your Quilts & Kits not only warm homes all over the world but also inspire staff and volunteers at our warehouses in Minnesota and Maryland. It takes about a month from the time the items arrive at the warehouse to when they are processed, repacked and ready for shipment. Loretta and Beth are veterans of the process – they have seen countless shipments accounted for and shipped in their 40+ years of experience at the Maryland warehouse.

Meanwhile, LWR staff work with partners overseas to determine where and what items are most needed. This process takes one to two months. Once the kits are prepared for shipment, we bid them adieu by ocean freight. Depending on which warehouse the materials are sent from and which country they are going to, this process can take from one to two months. But your Quilts & Kits doesn’t stop here! Our partners in the countries get the items clear through customs, transfer them to a safe storage for distribution and sort them according to local needs. The time and care put into each step of the journey parallels the care you shown while making the gifts. These steps are meant to ensure your gifts arrive safely and in good condition, and in a manner that promotes the dignity of the recipient.

What does your Personal Care Kits have to do with doubling milk production? What does your School Kits have to do with drawing a perfect square? How does your Baby Care Kits increase visits to prenatal clinics?  

Marie Sylsalve received a Baby Care Kit for baby McAnley who was born 12 days after the earthquake struck Haiti
Marie Sylsalve received a Baby Care Kit for her baby, McAnley, who was born 12 days after the earthquake struck Haiti.

LWR pairs Quilt & Kit distributions with local programs to maximize and ensure the longevity of your goodwill. In the highlands of Peru, your Quilts & Kits were paired with hygiene and milk production training to improve dairy farmers’ standard of living. The farmers now sell their cheese in regional and national markets. Brian Rafael, a fifth grader, explains simply that the rulers in the School Kits helps him and all of his classmate draw perfect squares in his math class. Families typically have to spend 30-40% of their scarce incomes to send kids to school with uniforms and the proper supplies. Your School Kits help families save for other necessities. In rural areas, medical clinics are far and few between. By giving Baby Care Kits and beautiful Quilts, it encourages families to take long treks to the clinics where women receive care and training.

Bethany Lutheran Quilters working on a quilt.
Bethany Lutheran Quilters making a quilt.

Globalization is the interaction and integration of ideas and goods throughout the world and among the world’s lifestyles. But let’s not forget the people, like you, me and Brian Rafael, behind the exchange. LWR’s Quilts & Kits Ministry is a constant reminder of people power. LWR is grateful for your choice in choosing to interact with the world through active faith and informed goodwill. Quilters and Kit-makers who ship items through congregations can follow the journey of their gifts of love as the gifts make their way around the world by using the LWR Kit Tracker.

 

Resources: Find out more about how to make Mission Quilts, Build Kits of Care, and/or take part of the journey through the Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund.