An event held in Abbotsford last month contributed to 9,500 comforters that were created and collected to distribute to those affected by disasters and conflicts around the world.
The Great Winter Warm-up was held by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) on Jan. 18, and occurred at more than 100 locations across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including at Ross Road Church in Abbotsford.
The event far surpassed the goal of making 6,500 comforters.
Throughout the event, participants began to make this experience their own. One group in the Netherlands had so much fun that they planned to continue meeting and creating comforters regularly.
At another event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a group decided to time themselves in order to create comforters as efficiently as possible.
Several of the events had multiple generations working on the same comforter, great-grandparents and great-grandchildren working in sync.
Stories of the lasting impacts of MCC’s relief work began to materialize throughout the process. One of the volunteers at an event in Germany mentioned that she had been wrapped in an MCC comforter as a child, at the end of the Second World War.
In Alberta, a group from the Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA) heard about the event and volunteered their help.
“[The] majority of them came from refugee camps and still remember the bitter taste of life and the harshness of the cold winter,” said Rola Mustafa, refugee support manager at IFSSA.
“The ladies were so overwhelmed with a sense of happiness and fulfillment. That’s why they stayed till the end of the day.”
The comforters created during the event will be distributed along with others collected during the year to bring relief to those affected by disasters and conflict.
“Comforters are an excellent metaphor for the nature of our work around the world,” says Rick Cober Bauman, executive director of MCC Canada.
“One square of fabric alone cannot keep the cold away, but many pieces connected produce warmth against the cold.”