How to Ship LWR Quilts & Kits Through Ingatherings

Working to load a train car during an Ingathering in Marquette, MI.

You’ve brought together a group of dedicated volunteers. Together you’ve cut, sewn and tied Quilts. Or you’ve held a drive to collect items for School, Personal Care, Baby Care or Sewing Kits. And of course you’ve assembled and packed them according to LWR guidelines.

Now you have to figure out how to get them to one of LWR’s warehouses in either Minnesota or Maryland.

If you’re new to this ministry, you may be particularly worried about this, especially if you are very far away from one of our warehouses! But I have some good news. You may be able to tap into a very cost-effective way to get your gifts to LWR, so that we can get them into the hands of people in need. It’s called an Ingathering.

Here is more information about Ingatherings and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get.

What exactly is an Ingathering?

An Ingathering is a local collection of Quilts and Kits during which groups in the surrounding area combine all their completed Quilts and Kits onto a truck or box car that delivers them to one of LWR’s warehouses. Typically, Ingatherings take place once each year, usually around the same time and in the same place. There are a handful of places that host Ingatherings twice each year.

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Ingatherings are coordinated by a group of super-volunteers called Key Leaders. These amazing, organized, energetic folks coordinate mailings, trucks, locations and dates. Key Leaders are the primary liaisons with LWR’s Quilt & Kit Ministry team, but they do nearly all of the work involved in setting up the Ingatherings each year!

How can I find out if there’s an Ingathering near me?

Visit lwr.org/ingatherings, and take a look at our map! From there you can contact the Key Leader organizing the Ingathering to get more information.

What happens when I/my congregation shows up to an Ingathering?

It varies from location to location, but typically you’ll be met by volunteers who will tell you where to pull your vehicle. They may be able to help you transfer your boxes from your vehicle to the truck or rail car, but it’s always a good idea to bring someone along who can do that task, also.

Depending on the location, you may be asked to sign in or turn in a donation form (check the Ingathering map or with your local Key Leader to find out if there’s a form for you), and contribute to the cost of the truck (more about this below).

There is no Ingathering near me. Can I start my own?

You can! If you are interested in forming an Ingathering in your area, we recommend you contact our Quilt & Kit Ministry team to find out how, but here are a few things to consider first:

  • Distance from nearest existing Ingathering: Ingatherings are effective because they draw large numbers of congregations together to share the space of very large trucks or box cars – which are also very expensive! If collections are too close together, there is a risk that truck or box car space may go unfilled and thus be wasted. If there is an ingathering within two hours of where you are, give the key leader a call to find out more about the event and how you can take part!
  • Local interest: What is the capacity and interest of congregations in my community in participating? Can we (eventually, with consistent communication) fill up a 40’ truck?
  • Spreading the word: What natural networks do we have for spreading the word about the Ingathering, gauging interest, and coordinating all the logistics?

If you’d like to talk more about starting an Ingathering, give us a call at 800.597.5972 or email us at lwr@lwr.org.

Who pays for the items to get transported to LWR? Is there anything my congregation/group can do to help?

In some areas, participants in a local Ingathering share the cost of transportation through a set donation amount (such as $20/group or $0.75/pound donated) that is turned in at the time of the collection and sent to LWR by the Key Leader.

In other areas, groups are encouraged to contribute to the Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund to help cover the costs. Those donations can be turned in at the Ingathering or mailed directly to LWR.

The Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund gives estimates on how much it costs to ship each type of item (for example, the estimated cost of shipping a Quilt is $2.25). These are based on the average cost to get that item from the point of an Ingathering, through the warehouse process, onto a container and to its final destination.

Ultimately, the cost of transportation to the warehouse and overseas is covered by generous donations from individuals and congregations. Since many quilters and kit-makers put a lot of time, talent and treasures into making the gifts, we suggest others in your congregation honor that hard work by supporting the Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund. This can also be a way to engage people who don’t have the time or skills to participate in the making of Quilts and Kits but still want to help!

Ingatherings are a great resource, but they using them is not mandatory.

We welcome your congregation and group donations however you want to send them.

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry that reaches so many hearts and hands around the world!