ladies bring warmth one stitch at
The nimble fingers of volunteers
from the Olean Lutheran Church have brought warmth to people around
the world for over 30 years - this year was no different with
511 blankets shipped Wednesday morning to Lutheran World Relief
The program designed by the Lutheran Church, was brought to the
attention of Esther Geisler in 1976 when she read a magazine article
in "Lutheran Women". The need for people to have warm
blankets when faced with disaster spoke to her heart and the blanket
ministry was born at Olean.
Geisler and three other ladies from the church, Aurelia Werner,
Dora Borcheldt, and Miriam Obendorf, were off and running with
the project that continues today.
Every Tuesday you can find women at the Olean Lutheran Church
putting together a variety of blankets. The group used to meet
at Geislers home, but quickly outgrew the space. They get
their materials, all new, from a variety of sources, people who
have hearts as big as theirs, and donate to the cause.
This year a semi truck from Batesville Casket rolled into the
church parking lot to have the boxes loaded. The driver, Jerry
Peetz, is a member of St. Johns Lutheran Church at Napoleon.
He has been with Batesville Casket for 46 years and is proud to
be associated with a company that would donate the truck and the
driver for the cause.
The blankets are taken to Indianapolis and then on to Baltimore,
MD, where they are baled. They are then shipped to any area in
the world where theres a disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina
or the recent fires in California, where people have lost everything.
We are so blessed, but, there are a lot of people who are
not right here at home, Geisler noted. Her eyes lit up as
she talked about the project, knowing it will bring comfort to
those in need.
The blankets not only go around the world, they are distributed
right here at home, according to Martha Jean Jarvis, secretary
for the church.
Weve sent them to Safe Passage, (a shelter at Batesville),
another shelter at Madison, and to the Recycle Reuse Center in
Osgood, Jarvis told The Versailles Republican. She said
the group received a grant of $100 from the Ripley County Community
Foundation with the stipulation that the money stay in the county.
That wasnt a problem, she noted, saying there
are people right here in need.
Geisler said shes getting older, my days are limited,
but, hopes the effort she and others started 33 years ago, will
continue long after she is gone. One doesnt know how
it is to be cold and miserable, she concluded.
The blanket project for Lutheran World Relief, is just one of
the efforts the ladies at Olean Lutheran participate in. They
also make baby blankets for Childrens Hospital in Cincinnati,
knit IV covers and hats and much more. From November to March,
they collectively made 152 baby blankets. Oh, were
sewers down here, Geisler laughed.
The group is definitely sewing seeds of kindness as they weave
threads together to make life better for people theyve never
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Esther Geisler, left, the founder of the blanket project
at the Olean Lutheran Church, and Martha Jean Jarvis, secretary
for the church and a "great knotter" show some
of the finished products being shipped around the world
for Lutheran World Relief. This year the Olean church alone
made 511 blankets for the effort. They were shipped to Indianapolis
and then on to Baltimore, MD, where they will be stored