A multitude of hands were kept warm this winter!
About this time last year I set a lofty goal to collect 2000 pairs of hand made mittens to distribute to all the families that came to collect Christmas presents for their children through the Salvation Army Toy Hamper program. The goal was based on the number of children that came through the program at our church the year before. I believe there were over 7000 children participating in the program across the city of Calgary, with about 2000 of them being designated to pick up their presents at our church. The CommuKNITy Cares group was eager to get started and filled with excitement as we set out to warm the hands of Calgary for the second year in a row!
So many caring hearts got right behind our goal. We had packages of mittens being delivered from coast to coast across Canada, literally from Newfoundland right to Richmond, BC! We ended up with a colorful assortment of both knitted and crocheted mittens from new born to adult sizing. In the end we collected 1068 pairs of mittens, 11 scarves and 164 hats! It really was fantastic because the kids had so much to choose from. The excitement we all had for the ministry was transferred to their faces as they gazed at our selection and picked out their favourite pair. They were just simply thrilled when they tried them on!
So 1068 mittens was definitely shy of our goal of 2000. I admit there were times when I felt defeated and a bit embarrassed for setting such a high goal. I had been challenged by a few skeptics along the way and if I allowed their discouragement to sink in, it had the potential of defining this ministry as a failure. I don’t know about you, but I have limited myself in so many ways by listening to what others think, or more often than not, by listening to what I believe they are thinking.
God is so good though! He not only knows our needs, He meets them! It wasn’t until the actual distribution day that I found out that although Calgary was still supporting about 7000 kids, this year our church would only be handing out hampers to about 1000 children. It was purely a logistical thing, where additional pick up locations were added around the city. It meant that we met our goal of providing a warm pair of mittens for every child that walked through our doors!
I’m so grateful for this lesson of faith God has given us. The whole experience reminded me of Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5000. The disciples doubted that they had the means to feed the huge crowd before them. Realistically, how could five loaves of bread and 2 fish feed 5000? God takes what ever we have to offer though, no matter how big or small and shows His mighty power through it! The five loaves and two fish proved to be enough and satisfied the hungry crowd. In fact there were even left overs! He also knew our needs and He not only met them, He exceeded them! At the end of the day we actually had a surplus of mittens left.
I had arrived that morning knowing we hadn’t met our goal. I was focussed on what we hadn’t accomplished while God was focussing on what He could accomplish. Just as He used the feeding of 5000 to bring glory to Him, I believe He did the same with our ministry. We were able to share His love with just shy of 1000 children and their families that day!
As our mitten ministry for 2018 comes to an end, I wanted to share my gratitude for everyone involved. An average pair of mittens can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete. That means our team of knitters and crocheters put in over 3000 hours of creative handiwork! Those who didn’t make mittens contributed to our ministry in countless other ways. Some donated money to our cause, while others purchased mittens to donate. Many simply acted as ambassadors to the ministry by spreading the word and getting others involved. When it came closer to the distribution day we had volunteers giving their time to attach labels to each pair of mittens and then join us in handing out the mittens to the kids. Then, finally, I cannot begin to express my appreciation for the many prayers spoken on our behalf. Thank you so much to everyone that got involved in the ministry this year!
Our mitten ministry is gearing up for its third annual year of handing out mittens. We are aiming to warm just as many hands if not more this year. Christmas 2019 may seem far away, but there is no time like the present to start making more mittens! Feel free to comment below with any questions about our ministry or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org