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Make a Difference Day: Evangelical Free Church’s fifth annual event draws 100 women and girls

Alysia Hjelte, 13, left, and her mother, Loyda, tie together a fleece blanket Saturday during the annual Make a Difference Day at Evangelical Free Church in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — About 100 women and girls gathered Saturday at Willmar’s Evangelical Free Church to use their hands and talents to help the community.

The church’s fifth annual Make a Difference Day was a rousing success, said

 Anderson, director of the church’s women’s ministries.

“It was a blast,” Anderson said Sunday afternoon. “We all worked together, and we got a ton accomplished.” The day is organized by church member Emily Heglund.

The turnout and the amount of work done were impressive. Anderson estimated that about 90 adults and a dozen girls attended the event. Many of them are members of the church, but others were welcome, too. The girls at the event were daughters or granddaughters of participants.

In five hours, which included a lunch break, the women and girls made 600 cookies, 30 fleece blankets, 65 scarves, 200 pot holders, 24 twin-size quilts and 20 tote bags. They also made soup-in-a-jar mixes, 35 quarts and 100 pints. Fifty rolls of bandages were prepared for shipment to clinics in Africa.

The group put together 100 packets of handmade cards to give to widows in the church’s congregation. A handmade card was attached to each gift item, too.

Each participant was asked to take along an item and visit someone who is lonely to deliver it, Anderson said.

The rest are delivered to groups around the community.

The cookies will go to a variety of places, including Safe Avenues, James House, fire departments and Rice Hospice.

The fleece blankets and scarves will go to the Somali Adult Literacy Training program. Program participants will also receive the tote bags to carry their educational materials.

The potholders and quilts will go to the Home to Home program, which helps people who have lost everything and are starting over. It could be people who’ve lost everything in a fire or someone fleeing a domestic abuse situation, Anderson said.

The soup mixes will be given to people in need of a meal, Anderson said. All that’s needed to make soup is the contents of that jar and the water.

“The vision of our church is to impact the community and the world,” Anderson said, “and this is one way we can impact the community.”

Many people and businesses donate materials for the day, she said.

One of the largest came from Cherie Heitke, owner of Flying Goose Quilt Shop in New London, who donated 250 yards of fabric. “It was a huge amount of fabric,” Anderson said. “We used all of it.”

The day’s remaining expenses were covered by a sale of used Christian books, purses and jewelry that went on at the sale, Anderson said. The sale raised more than $1,000.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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