By Beth Zelazo

SPOTLIGHT ON Merry Mombourquette, Terry Murray, Carol Venne and June Haendiges

“May your hands always be busy; may your feet always be swift.” This is only the beginning of song lyrics by Bob Dylan that Merry recently heard as a prayer before a corn beef and cabbage dinner at the K of C in Ludlow. This was the answer to the question I posed to her about why she knits blankets and sweaters for children all over the world through World Visions Knit for Kids program. “It’s a way to keep busy and when I heard this prayer, it made me think of why I knit.” Merry, Terry, Carol and June knit sweaters for children that are then mailed out to Pennsylvania through the generosity of A.C. Moore, arriving in places around the world. These labors of love warm the bodies and souls of children in great need in Chicago, the Pacific Northwest, Armenia, El Salvador, Swaziland, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In a thank you letter to Merry from World Vision’s Knit for Kids, it said “these handmade gifts are meeting critical needs of the world’s poorest children, often intervening during life-saving situations. With every stitch you make and every item you give, you are answering the prayer of a child.”

I first learned of these sweaters when June was standing as a greeter and holding up one of her latest creations and told me about this group of knitters. The yarn for the small and warm sweaters is often donated from multiple sources inside and outside the church. Once a sweater is completed, Merry stores it in her closet until she has enough to take them to A.C. Moore who pays and ships them to Sewickley, PA. Sewickley is the Knit for Kids global distribution center where the sweaters and blankets are then processed and shipped to an area that is experiencing a recent natural disaster or civil distress. Thanks to volunteer knitters, over half a million children have received something new for the first time in their lives.

“Right now, there is a push for small knitted blankets which are included in backpacks along with school supplies and toiletries being sent to Syria for children who are in refugee camps,” Merry quietly shared with me over coffee hour refreshments. Merry says she has been knitting these sweaters for about 5-6 years and Carol, Terry and June have been wonderful additions to this effort. Above a whisper of a voice Merry said, “It’s my quiet way of using the talents God has given me to help the world.”

New knitters are welcome to join this group which doesn’t meet as a group but makes these items at home in their leisure. Donation of yarn is always needed, and Merry suggests supporting A.C. Moore which underwrites the shipping costs. If you would like the pattern for the sweaters and blankets or more information about World Visions and their other programs, you can Google worldvision.org/knitforkids. Go to the “Get Involved” section/Step 1.

The rest of Bob Dylan’s lyrics are “May you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift. May your heart always by joyful, and may our song always be sung. May you stay – forever young.” Amen!