Hand-crafted charity

Published 11:47 am Friday, February 17, 2012

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Presbyterian women host workshop to make items for missions

Austin’s Presbyterian Women of the Church are at it again, making hats, scarves, diapers, bandages and more for people they will likely never meet.

The local group gathered for roughly its 25th year on Wednesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church for its annual missions workshop. Armed with yarn, material patterns and worn-out sheets donated from church members and bought from designated church funds, more than 20 women spent the better half of a day making a difference for the world in an international mission that is more than 50 years old itself.

“It’s made a big difference for lots of children,” said Gloria Falconer, who has participated in every workshop at Westminster from the beginning.

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Falconer cut and rolled sheets into bandages for Project CURE (Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment) based in Colorado Springs, Colo., which has delivered medical relief to more than 120 countries. Others made outerwear for orphans in Romania, essentials for Haitian children and walker caddies and catheter bag covers for locals. Members also provided donations for the American Red Cross and Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers.

While Falconer has assisted with each of the various projects at Westminster, she is better known as the kitchen staff.

“I go wherever they need my help; I think I was born in this kitchen,” she joked about the amount of time she has volunteered over the years.

But others appreciate that help. The room full of volunteers had coffee, food and supplies readily at their disposal while they efficiently manufactured essentials.

“It’s a great time for fellowship,” said JoAnn Strey, who has served on nearly every workshop.

The volunteers will continue their projects from home for the rest of the year, but Wednesday served as a good catalyst for the entire service project. Coming together helps the women accomplish a lot at once, as the women likely made several hundred items on Wednesday, they said. The women will ship their items around the world several times during the year, as well.

While some of the women have more experience knitting and sewing, Wednesday served as a good day for others to brush up on their skills. That way, newcomers will continue the tradition for many years to come.