Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will kick off its 100-year anniversary celebration this year by bringing together volunteers in the U.S., Canada and Europe to make 6,500 comforters on one day – Jan. 18 – during an event known as The Great Winter Warm-up.
Locally, the MCC East Coast office has set an additional goal of collecting 5,000 comforters during the month of January, so events are scheduled before and after Jan. 18. The region has many MCC supporters who donate comforters throughout the year, including the Plain community, which spurred the added challenge.
The Great Winter Warm-up January events will jump start MCC’s supply of comforters that are sent to people in crisis all around the world each year. In 2018, MCC sent more than 53,000 comforters as a practical message of love and compassion in the name of Christ. East Coast supporters generated nearly 30,000 of those comforters for MCC’s ministries.
MCC was founded in 1920 when groups of Mennonites and Mennonite Brethren formed a committee to provide food and other assistance to people affected by war and famine in southern Russia, which is present-day Ukraine.
Today, MCC provides humanitarian relief, encourages sustainable development and strengthens peacebuilding initiatives in more than 50 countries. Comforters and blankets have been part of MCC’s relief resources ever since the end of World War II.
During The Great Winter Warm-up events, volunteers are invited to help knot comforters as they celebrate MCC’s centennial. Events on the East Coast are scheduled in Lancaster, Dauphin, Montgomery and Franklin counties and in Washington, D.C. To find an event near you, visit greatwinterwarmup.org.
In Montgomery County, events are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 7 to 9, at Franconia Mennonite Church (Sewing Building), 613 Harleysville Pike, Telford, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 13, at the MCC Material Resource Center, 737 Hagey Center Dr., Unit C, Souderton.
Participants will work together to combine handmade comforter tops, warm batting and sturdy backing fabric into warm, durable and beautiful comforters. The squares of fabric that make up the comforter tops have already been sewn together.
In recent years, comforters have brought warmth to people in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon who have lost family members, jobs and homes because of the war in Syria and other violence in the region. In Malawi, comforters were given to people whose homes were flooded and to refugees from neighboring countries. MCC sends comforters to people in Ukraine who are displaced by fighting with Russia.
Donated comforters are welcome throughout the year. Individuals and groups can make comforters anytime, using the instructions at mcc.org/comforters, or join others at the MCC Material Resource Center in Souderton. For information, call 267-203-8074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.