Connecting People to Places

Methodist women work for humanitarian relief

 

Helping assemble layette kits are, from left, Jen Esham, Stella O’Neal, Kay Riddick,Teresa Adams, Robin Turner, Annie Lou Gaskins, Martha O’Neal and Kathy Phillips. Photo by P. Vankevich

Helping assemble layette kits are, from left, Jen Esham, Stella O’Neal, Kay Riddick,Teresa Adams, Robin Turner, Annie Lou Gaskins, Martha O’Neal and Kathy Phillips. Photo by P. Vankevich

By  Peter Vankevich

Throughout the winter, several women of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church helped to swaddle future newborns.

In April, the group assembled 50 relief-supply layette kits and sent them to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) warehouse in Louisiana to be ready to help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis.

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Kay Riddick displays one of the hand-knitted sweaters. Leslie Gilbert in background. Photo by P. Vankevich

“We started the project back in December,” said Kay Riddick, the group’s coordinator. “We hand-knitted every sweater.”

UMCOR is dedicated to humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disasters disrupt lives around the globe. Its roots go back to 1941 and World War II.

Its work has helped people in more than 80 countries, including the United States.

Their efforts have helped survivors of earthquakes in Nicaragua, famine in Africa, and tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes in the United States as well as countries experiencing violent civil strife such as Liberia, Rwanda and Bosnia.

This is the second time the Ocracoke women have prepared these kits which are one of six types that UMCOR provides.

Layette kits consist of one sweater, six cloth diapers, two receiving blankets, two sleepers, two onesies, two baby wash cloths, and two diaper pins.

The women have also prepared one birthing and one school kit.

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Layette kits assembled and ready for shipping. Photo by P. Vankevich

Teresa Adams, who worked on this project and previous ones, thinks having these kits prepared in advance is a great idea.

“In a time of crisis, these kits can be sent out immediately saving valuable time,” she said. “I also like the selection of the items, and, especially, I believe the recipients will be touched knowing that the sweaters were hand-knit by a caring person.”

All 50 of the sweaters were hand-knit by Merian Bell Hoggard, Carol Pahl, Ruth Toth, Annie Lou Gaskins, Ashley Garrish and Kay Riddick.

UMC women who bought the rest of the supplies for the kits and helped assemble them are Stella O’Neal, Agnes Garrish, Martha O’Neal, Sue O’Neal, Teresa Adams, Leslie Gilbert, Jen Esham, Robin Turner and Kathy Phillips.