International (ORO/MNN) — In situations where poverty is rampant, the needs you most often hear about are food, water, and shelter. Blankets are the next thing on the list of "must haves" for survival.
The youngest poverty victims, however, have very little access to such luxuries. That's why a recent quilt distribution makes all the difference in the world for a group of orphans being supported by Orphan Outreach.
A group of orphans in Nikolsky orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia will stay warm this winter, thanks to the 30 quilts they received this summer from Quilts Without Borders, a non-profit national organization.
The gifts were hand-delivered in July by Paula Hayes, director of administrative services for Orphan Outreach. "The kids just loved them," she says. "They rolled up in them, played with them, and were so happy to have them. And the caretakers at the orphanage were amazed at how beautiful they were."
The purpose of the quilts: to provide warmth and comfort. They're whimsical and for a child who has nothing, ownership means a lot. Tiffany Taylor, director of Marketing and Development at Orphan Outreach, took quilts to Guatemala in mid-September.
Orphan Outreach serves children in extreme poverty situations in
Guatemala by partnering with local orphanages, churches, and Christian
Quilts Without Borders began in 2007 with the intent of bringing the faith community together to help kids. Throughout the year, churches across the country hold "Quilting Bees,"where people get together to make the colorful quilts, then pack them and send them to receiving centers where they're readied for shipment around the world.
"Our mission has been truly blessed," said Karen Vanderstoep, founder of Quilts Without Borders. "It's so gratifying to see the look of surprise and happiness on the faces of these children when they get their quilts, which are the only things they own. The clothes in the orphanages are communal, and our quilts are the only possession they have…. It's the only thing they can take with them when the leave."
Orphan Outreach has received 200 quilts from Quilts Without Borders to date. For Orphan Outreach, it's just one more way to share the hope of Christ with these orphans. They come from broken homes and feel abandoned and hopeless. Orphan Outreach has staff who daily visit the orphanages with volunteers from the local church to share the Gospel, do Bible studies, crafts, and worship with the children.
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