Mission of Love teams up with Andrea & Jim Thome to Donate Quilts to the Victims of Tennessee Wildfires 

In January Kathy, Mission of Love Founder/Director mentioned to me that she was going to Tennessee to hand out comfort quilts to families who had lost their homes in the wildfires of November 2016. She had collected 75 beautiful handmade quilts from some very generous friends of Luana Rubin from equilter.com.  When I saw them it was obvious that each quilter had put much time and love into their quilt. I decided to add one of my own to the lot, hoping that I could finish it before the trip in February. Since it only needed binding, it was definitely an attainable goal. When Kathy invited me to go, I couldn’t pass up the chance to serve our neighbors in Tennessee.

Van loaded with comfort quilts for Tennessee Fire Victims        Quilts for Tennessee fire victims 

Also going on the trip was our friend Eric Broviak who I had the pleasure of serving with the previous September on the rehab mission to Tecpan, Guatemala. Eric is indispensable for not only his driving skills but pharmacy, video and photography as well.  The van was packed to the hilt with bins of quilts, warm clothing, crayons, coloring books and candy for children.  As we set out on Thursday we really didn't have a definite game plan in place for how, where or when the event would take place, but, as usual, God had already figured out those details!  All we had to do was show up. We met up with author Andrea Thome and her husband Jim Thome of Cleveland Indians fame.  Andrea’s mom had grown up in the Gatlinburg area and Andrea holds a special place in her heart for the people there. Andrea had been in touch with the East Tennessee Foundation who is in the process of helping allocate funds for housing for the fire victims.

Andrea Thome with comfort quilts        Kathy Price and Andrea Thome distributing comfort quilts 

Meanwhile, my friend, Tori Skolosh, who attends Johnson University in Knoxville, knew of some Honduran and Guatemalan families who are in desperate need of housing.  Andrea was able to contact the pastor of the Hispanic church in Sevierville, Susana Lopez, who offered to contact 40 families most in need and also allowed us the use of the church in which to hold the event. On Friday we quickly jumped into action, along with Susana and her daughter, setting up the tables to display the quilts and clothing and kids items. Jim and Andrea went shopping for piñatas and party supplies. They also generously ordered catering from Chipotle for 140 people! We were now ready for our Comfort Quilt Fiesta!

Food for victims of Tennessee wild fires        Jim Thome with victims of Tennessee wild fires 

At 7:00pm the people started trickling in. They seemed a little hesitant at first not knowing us or what would take place. By the time we began to serve dinner, however, everyone was laughing and talking, many in Spanish, and enjoying themselves. They realized that we were simply there to show them that they were loved and cared for and not forgotten.  After dinner the kids went outside and had great fun taking turns hitting the piñatas. There was plenty of candy for all since we had stuffed them really full!

Becky Spratt & Andrea Thome distributing comfort quilts         Kathy Price with volunteer 

We began distributing the quilts by calling each family up one by one and encouraging them to choose their favorite quilt. Kathy and Andrea wrapped the quilts around the ladies’ shoulders and took lots of photos. There were lots of smiles but also lots of happy tears during the process. The women were obviously deeply moved by such a beautiful gift. I know that my own heart was full of joy. We all made some new friends that night.

Kathy Price with Andrea & Jim Thome      Andrea Thome & Kathy Price 

Miracles happened during those couple days and events unfolded that none of us could have planned or arranged on our own. We didn’t have the contacts and we didn’t know who was most in need but God knew. He led us in the right direction placing the right people in our path who could assist in accomplishing the task.

Mission of Love Comfort Quilts Volunteers & Recipients

Many thanks to Kathy Price, Jim and Andrea Thome, and Pastor Susana Lopez and her family. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to meet and serve with such awesome people. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I’d like to think that that is what we were able to do that Friday evening in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Becky Spratt 
Mission of Love volunteer
 


  
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"YOU are not here to save the world but are here to touch the hands that are within your reach."