Huntington UMC Receives ‘Vision Award’ for Exemplary Service
In appreciation for over 6500 hours of sewing, the Loose Threads group at Huntington UMC was honored by a state agency in September.
It was thrilling to win a trophy in a special ceremony at the state capital, but the ladies of the Loose Threads group at Huntington UMC in the East District were even more moved by the thank you cards from the residents of the Lufkin State Supported Living Center, expressing their gratefulness for their labors of love. Their giving spirit manifests itself through the hemming of pants, custom made clothing, and handmade slippers and mittens.
Since 2011, the group has donated more than 6,500 volunteer hours designing and sewing items to make life better for the residents. About a dozen members and ladies from the community meet in their special sewing room on Thursdays from 9am-2pm to make clothing protectors and caddies that residents can hang on their wheelchairs or walkers to hold belongings while freeing their hands. The group uses a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns on a wide assortment of projects, giving the residents a choice and chance to express their individuality.
The Center nominated the Loose Threads group in the “CHOICE” category for this year’s Vision Awards, sponsored by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) – and they won. Huntington UMC Pastor Bill Lanigan did not know the true significance of the award until he arrived in Austin and heard about the other very impressive winners being recognized. “It was really quite a presentation of what is being done statewide, including an award for a woman who has served a state school in Abilene for 50 years,” he admits. “We represented East Texas well.”
Vision Awards are offered in three categories: Dignity, Wellness and Choice, complimenting the agency’s vision that aging Texans be supported in ways that enhance individual well-being. “I am so proud of this group,” he adds. “The only thing I do is collect donations that are dropped off at the church on a regular basis, but these women do all kinds of things. One day they are making layettes for still born babies and the next they are altering the band uniforms for the high school – always making sewing into an outreach ministry that gets quite a bit of buzz around the community.”
In the summers, the ladies bring their grandchildren to help, and the pastor’s sons even get in on the action, working a procedure on a machine they enjoy operating. Adds Sandy, “This ministry is truly a community effort, and if people can’t sew they can wash and organize fabric or some other aspect of the project. It is an amazing example of the body of Christ and has been a blessing to each of us, personally, since the day we started.”