Stitching Hearts and Lives Back Together through Love: Quilts for Homeless Teens
July 14, 2021, 12:00 AM

When a homeless teenager enters Pivot Youth Services, based in Oklahoma City, he or she is given a handmade quilt made by a small group of members of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Bethany, OK. A small tag tells the teenager that it is a gift from the church. There is a pocket on each quilt. In the pocket there is a card. On one side it says: “ YOU ARE BOLD, BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, DETERMINED, FIERCE, INSPIRING, KIND, LOVED, PROUD, STRONG, WORTHY.” On the flip side it says “ NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE OR WHERE YOU GO, YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST”

Making these quilts is truly a group effort. Material and thread for the quilt tops is donated. The stuffing is purchased with grant funding from Thrivent and comes in three giant rolls. Church members are continually scouting for flat sheets for the backing, as the quilts are made for a single bed. One member and her husband cut the material into squares. Another person sews the patchwork and still another stitches up the hem once the quilts are assembled and pinned. Several people have pitched in to tie the quilts so the stuffing doesn’t shift around.

In little more than a year, the group is approaching a total of 50 quilts. Larger congregations have more massive numbers sewn for Lutheran World Relief, but we do ours for local outreach. Pivot is an Oklahoma City non-profit that helps teenagers who have been released from foster care or are otherwise homeless by providing shelter and counseling, assistance to graduate or earn a GED, and also helps them learn how to cook for themselves, how to get a job, and how to keep a job. Pivot also provides tiny houses where a teenager can be totally independent while still having the back up of the whole campus while they make the transition to an apartment of their own.

Not only are these well-made quilts practical for a teen without a home, they are also beautiful. And, equally important, these quilts become their own. Those who make them work hard to achieve beautiful and cheery designs that will uplift. A lot of time goes into the quilts, which means a lot of love. You can find the quilting team several mornings a week at Lutheran Church of Our Savior assembling the quilts. Their aim is to make something special and unique for these teens with great needs, providing them a beautiful quilt which they know is theirs. And hopefully, through the sewn-in love, they also experience just a bit of the love God has for each of them.

Carol Seljeseth

Lutheran Church of Our Savior Bethany, OK