Julie Parks shares two church homes — St. Luke’s Palermo Oakville, Ontario and First United Methodist Bonita Springs, Florida.
While attending the latter, which she describes as “my Christian home in wintertime”, Julie was introduced to the Fidget Blanket Ministry. Back in Canada, she received eight fidget blankets to distribute to Alzheimer patients and six for autistic children, which she did.
This July, while visiting my wife’s sister in a central Newfoundland-Labrador nursing home in Botwood, I noticed a fidget blanket on her bed. I enquired but nobody knew who made it or how it got there.
The Fidget Blanket Ministry intrigued me enough to want to share it with our Niagara Anglican readers. I asked Julie for more information. She contacted her Florida friend, Ginny McIntosh, and this is Ginny’s story.
“Heart 2 Heart is a God inspired ministry here at First United Methodist church in Bonita Springs, Florida. The ministry has touched lives both near and far with God’s comfort and joy.
The blanket ministry started in January 2018.
My aunt had been placed in hospice care and the ravages of Alzheimer’s kept her hands in constant motion. A chaplain had provided two small comfort fidget blankets to ease her anxiety. Having shared this with our care team at church, we saw a wonderful opportunity to provide some calm, peace and comfort to those in need. In her honor, the fidget blanket ministry began, and the blue and white labels were sewn into the Alzheimer’s blankets as a tribute … “In memory of Aunt Nat”.
When God places a ministry on our hearts and we respond to the call, He provides all that we need. At that time, we had no funding, no material, no storage space or work area and only one person who sewed.
No problem for God!!
The one person who sewed, shipped blankets back down to us when she returned to her northern home in the spring.
The church established a budget for us, friends donated to the ministry, people joined us from the community and the choir gave us storage space in the music room. God is good!
Last June, over social media, came a request for a child’s blanket. The child was autistic. We knew God was giving us a nudge.
We named the ministry “Heart 2 Heart” and worked on creating blankets for children with autism that included such things as zippers, buttons, Velcro, buckles and shoelaces. The blankets became a learning tool for basic life skills.
For seniors with dementia we have sensory, activity, comfort and roll and fold blankets. New to our ministry is seat belt pillows and small lap blankets for chemo patients.
We now have our own work and storage areas for the five year-round team members. This number doubles in season. The estimated number of blankets given out is approximately 60 to 75.
One of the many blessings we have received in this ministry is sharing together in friendship and fellowship using the gifts God has given to us.
So, whether you can sew, stitch, cut, bead, design or just be a part of the group … Give it a go!!!
To those who have received these blankets and inspire us to continue serving in this ministry … Thank You!”
For more information about the Fidget Blanket Ministry go to the website of First United Methodist Bonita Springs, Florida: fumcbonita.org.
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