DIDSBURY - The Bergthal Mennonite Church near Didsbury participated in the Mennonite Central Committee's (MCC) Great Winter Warm-up on Jan. 18.
The event brought together people from across Canada with the goal of making a record-breaking 6,500 comforters in one day in celebration of the MCC's 100th anniversary.
Last year more than 53,000 comforters were sent to countries throughout the world, including to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, North Korea and Serbia, as well as throughout Canada and the United States as needed.
Everyone was welcome to come out to Bergthal church to help make comforters or quilts, said Rose Goerzen, office administrator for Bergthal Mennonite Church.
"We are celebrating 100 years of Mennonite Central Committee quilting," said Goerzen. "The Mennonite churches across Canada and the U.S. have made comforters for missions for 100 years. That is what we're celebrating."
Goerzen said the event was open to new quilters as well as more experienced ones.
The Bergthal church quilters also have a month of quilting planned for March with the goal of making 100 quilts for charity, which is an annual event.
"They go to the MCC office in Calgary and then are sent to wherever the call comes from," she said. "Wherever there is disaster and MCC has a foot on the land. Sometimes they work with other organizations that also have a foot on the land.”
Goerzen said making the quilts is a true "labour of love" and from the heart.
"We love to quilt it," she said. "We love the doing of it, we love the camaraderie of getting together and having fun quilting.
“We also have the great satisfaction of knowing that someone who has lost everything will be given a quilt. We pray over and bless whoever gets them."
The MCC was started 100 years ago to provide food and relief to refugees and families affected by war and famine in southern Russia in the 1920s.
Now, MCC works in the areas of relief, development and peace in partnership with local organizations in more than 50 countries.
Part of MCC's work includes sending humanitarian relief including food, school supplies, hygiene kits and the colourful hand-stitched comforters to people affected by disaster and conflict.
Veronica Morales, with Mennonite Central Committee Alberta, attended the Jan. 18 Great Winter Warm-up quilting day at Bergthal.
“All of the quilts that are being made today will be taken to the Plum Coulee, Manitoba distribution warehouse,” said Morales. “Then they will be disbursed overseas to different places. We’ve sent some to Jordan, to Syria, to Ukraine and all of the places where help is needed.
“These are for people who have been displaced because of political crisis or disasters.”
The quilts are used for many different things, she said.
“A lot of people will use them as blankets or they will use them as a rug or even a room divider,” she said. “It adds colour to the dark places where they are.
“It adds some life and makes them feel that there is hope and comfort and warmth.”
The nationwide aim is to get 6,500 quilts made by the end of January.
“And if we can surpass that it would be amazing as well,” she said.