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Handcrafted blankets provide comfort to grieving EL families

Judy Kidder (Left), past president of the East Liverpool United Methodist Women group, poses with Pastor Steve Knisely and organization treasurer Sally Haynes in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of East Liverpool with a few of the homemade fleece blanket from their comfort ministry. (Photo by Stephanie Ujhelyi)

EAST LIVERPOOL — For the last two years, the United Methodist Women group has been providing a little warmth for the survivors of those who needed it.

Pastor Steve Knisely of the First United Methodist Church of East Liverpool explained that the group has been donating handmade fleece blankets to the East Liverpool City Hospital emergency room, to cover their deceased loved ones.

Sally Haynes explains that emergency room personnel use the blankets to drape over the often stark white or blood stained sheet covering a crash victim. “This blanket helps to cover up the disaster when family and friend comes to see their loved one,” she said.

Knisely has repeatedly witnessed the difference this ministry means outside the church walls. He shared how a congregant’s mother recently passed away in the ELCH emergency room, and he was providing pastoral care to the family who told him how this “gave a personal touch” to their personal tragedy. “This really matters. This added life to a sad day within this sterile environment,” he continued, adding that having witnessing the blessings of the blankets personally he had a greater appreciation for the blankets when his deceased wife was gifted one. “These blankets often soften the trauma of a death.”

Judy Kidder said that more than 60 blankets have been delivered to City Hospital for the emergency room as well as another 25 gifted to children sponsored by the church at Christmas.

Due to COVID, Haynes said that communication with hospital emergency room has been somewhat limited; however, they still are grateful to receive.

Amid a pandemic, fundraisers like the Christmas tea, have had to be canceled and donations are much appreciated. Checks can be made out to First United Methodist Church of East Liverpool and earmarked to the Comfort Ministry but writing that on the menu line. Mail donations to the church at 200 W. 5th St., East Liverpool, OH 43920.

According to Haynes, the estimated cost is $10 per blanket. More information can be garnered from either Kidder at 330-385-8896 or Haynes at saralou404@gmail.com

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