By Sharon Mager
OLNEY, Md.–Every two months, a young mother at the Rockville Pregnancy Center receives a special gift from Olney Baptist Church. Members lovingly fill a large laundry basket with diapers, formula, clothing, bottles, bibs, receiving blankets and an assortment of other necessities and top it off with a handmade quilt specially made by the church’s quilting ministry, the “piecemakers.” Church member Joyce Owen faithfully makes the deliveries.
Patty Gjerulff, director of baby boutique and childbirth class instructor at the Rockville Pregnancy Center, said she literally claps her hands when she sees Owen in the waiting room. The center receives many donations, but Gjerulff said the baskets from Olney are special. They’re filled to capacity and provide most of the basic needs for the new mom.
“They’re beautiful, and they’re made with love. The quilts are something you would expect them to make for their child or grandchild, someone they’re invested in,” she said.
The women Gjerulff chooses to receive the baskets are first-time moms in crises. They are overjoyed to receive the baskets, and they’re always surprised that they get the whole basket, and don’t have to just choose one gift out of it.
Church member Betty Miller leads the “piecemakers” group. They chat together about seams, sergers, invisible thread and other sewing topics. They laugh and share a part of their lives, and they’re thrilled knowing their handiwork will be used to bless others.
“It’s fun to do and there is a very useful purpose to it. They serve to witness to young women who find themselves in a very difficult position, to let them know someone cares about them,” Miller said.
The group was started eighteen years ago by Olney member Denette Hales, who now lives in Paducah, Ky. At that time, the ladies crocheted and knitted but it evolved into a quilting group and Miller assumed leadership. Miller said at one time the group had dwindled down to two and she thought it may be time to stop, but others began attending again, and it just keeps going.
In addition to the baby quilts, they also make larger lap quilts for those taking chemo, who are seriously ill, and those in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
“We also visit people when we give them the quilts – we fellowship with them,” “Piecemakers” Dee Barnett said.
Each blanket is unique.
“Betty has us do the same pattern every month, but by the time we put it together every quilt has a different look, not just changing the colors but how the blocks are done.
Though different, each blanket carries the same label: “Made with loving hands by ‘The Piecemakers,” Olney Baptist Church.