Who knew that when a church hosts a Blanket Sunday for CWS it could come back and help them support their own community? Well, that is what happened at Main Street United Methodist Church in Nashua, NH.
“We used to think of CWS Blankets going all over the world but now I see some are used here in the United States!” Phyllis Kline Appler, Missions Chairman at Main Street United Methodist shared. Main Street UMC’s motto is, The Church with a Heart in the Heart of Nashua. And they really are a church with a heart. Phyllis has always been involved with mission work and enjoys doing it, “I remember as a kid, growing up, that I fill the Korean hospital mission barrel with rolled up bandages. My parents were always involved with mission work. We were a host family, too. It is just something I’ve always done.”
Located in downtown Nashua for about 150 years, Main Street UMC has supported many mission programs over the years like CWS Blankets, CWS Tools, Heifer International, UMCOR, and hosting their own homeless outreach ministry, Cafe Agape. Cafe Agape is a drop-in spot for those who don’t have a place to be such as those who are homeless. Individuals can drink coffee, eat a little pastry, and talk with others. They are open from 8 am to 10 am and many people show up. Court ordered community service can be accomplished here as well and resources for veterans are offered. Someone can pick up a guitar and strum a song or two. “It is a place where they are accepted without questions, they just need a quiet place,” Phyllis expressed.
They also help refugee families resettle. “It all started 8 to 9 years ago – refugees from Burundi, who came from a refugee camp in Tanzania, walked into the church, down the aisle and handed an introduction letter to the pastor here from a pastor at the refugee camp. A member in the congregation could speak Swahili and so, they found out what was happening,” Phyllis took a breath, “We figured out where they were living and we all really pitched in. They weren’t living in the nicest housing since rent is so high, so we helped the families make a home by providing coats, bedding, replacing locks. They were given so little through refugee services, so we wanted to help provide.”
“This is where the CWS Blankets come in. We were trying to keep up with the need for blankets when I realized I knew an organization! We have supported CWS Blankets many times over the years and I knew I had to put a request in. We were really happy that CWS, who we have been giving to, was able to respond and help us. We are able to see it in action,” Phyllis noted.
CWS was able to provide Main Street UMC with 100 heavyweight blankets. Main Street UMC now has CWS Blankets, home furnishings, and the necessities for refugees, specifically from Burundi, Congo, and Tanzania. There is a room set aside for the home furnishings where families can look at what they need to live comfortably. “We really just want to help them be self-sufficient. There are little things that may be different here – like you shouldn’t leave raw chicken out on the countertop. Where in their home country, everything is so fresh, they could! So, we are also just letting them know of the cultural differences here. We now have a community garden with the local high school so they can grow fresh produce too.”
For the congregations who are hosting a Blanket Sunday, and donating funds to the Blanket ministry, thank you. You are supporting CWS’ response in helping those in need. Just think, when you are hosting a Blanket Sunday, we could respond to your own community!
To support CWS Blankets, visit www.cwsblankets.org/order and host a Blanket Sunday!