Made with loving care & generous hearts

This Florida church's labor of love brightens lives of local hospital patients

This tiny Florida church makes a huge impact on the lives of hospital patients and their families with their quilts ministry.

The thing that comes across is the joy. You hear it in Barbara Cooper's voice when she talks about her quilts.

"We've been making them for about 10 years now," says Cooper, a member of Mayport Presbyterian Church in Mayport, Florida, a small fishing village on the state's northeast coast. "We meet once a week. I cut the cloth and lay it out, another woman ties them, another sews them. We have a friend who picks them up each week and takes them to Shands Hospital. It's so fun."

Located 15 miles away in Jacksonville, Shands Hospital is known for treating all patients, no matter of insurance and resources. It takes in everyone. That philosophy aligns with the church's mission. "We're a tiny church with only 25 people, but we're a fellowship church," says Cooper. "Everyone is welcome. That's what we have in common with the hospital."

Cooper and her team keep the needs and circumstances of the patients, who are often terminally ill, in mind when they make their masterpieces. Their goal is to pass on something to help boost their spirits.

"We make them colorful, as these are people who need cheering up," says Cooper. "We make about 10 a month. Each one has a label on it that reads 'Made With Loving Care.'"

"It's a love that lives on and continues to grow."

Handiwork that serves a community

The congregation's handiwork initially began when they made quillas, which are straight quilts with a pocket that folds into a pillow.

"We'd make them and hand them out to the sick and needy," says Cooper. "And sometimes we would sell them, because that's how we could afford our materials. It just sort of grew from there into making and donating quilts to the hospital."

The church has recently begun making quilts for children, which means cutting and sewing for different dimensions. To Cooper, the rewards are the same. "We just enjoy every part of the process," she says.

All of this effort takes money. Part of the funds for fabric, needles, scissors and pins come from Thrivent members who choose organizations they wish to help support through Thrivent Choice®. The outreach funds help supply Mayport Presbyterian members with the resources to serve their community. And that service does have a long-lasting impact.

"We talk to people all the time who tell us that when the patients pass on, their quilt goes to the family," says Cooper. "In that way, it's a love that lives on and continues to grow."

Each year, eligible Thrivent members can recommend where some of Thrivent Financial's charitable funds go. See how Thrivent Choice gives members a voice in making a meaningful choice to help support the causes they care about.