Fearfulness, helplessness, and anxiety are all words to describe the enduring emotions that may take a child captive when he or she is removed from home by authorities such as Child Protective Services. The cause of removal from home is often drug abuse, neglect, behavioral problems, intellectual disability, or incarceration – and after possibly having witnessed a parent get arrested, a child is thrust into a new way of life with nothing but the clothes they chose to wear that day. It is an experience filled with confusion, sadness, and loss. Although a life of maltreatment is now behind them, the uncertainty of the future can leave children in these tragic situations feeling frightened or alone.
To help ease the transition into foster care, It’s My Very Own has emerged as a ministry that helps create and deliver “bags of love” filled with basic necessities, books, toys, and a handmade quilt to remind these children that they are not alone. It is an organization designed to be easy to duplicate and be practiced by others.
Peggy Lowe started out making quilts for IMVO in the Riverview Community Seventh-day Adventist Church of Greeneville, Tennessee when her pastor’s wife recruited her 6 years ago – now Lowe organizes the Northeast Tennessee chapter that reaches the displaced children in 7 counties. As of March 12, 2019 Lowe’s chapter of dedicated volunteers has distributed 798 bags made with love. In order to collect funds for this project, Lowe sent letters to churches in these 7 counties and spread the mission by word of mouth. The Kiwanis Club in her area donates $500 once a year as well as other organizations that give generously.
Lowe has seen God work in many marvelous ways to fund their club, and the supply of donated fabric is growing instead of depleting.
She has also seen Christ’s hand in using their bags to reach specific children. She recalls a time where a social worker requested a very special quilt with backing so a weighted blanket could go inside. Lowe finished it on a Friday afternoon and thought to wait until Monday to deliver it; however, she was impressed to deliver it that very day even though she didn’t expect anyone to be on the job that evening. When she arrived, not only was the social worker in his office, he was also overjoyed to see that Lowe had brought the special quilt. As it turns out, he planned to gift it to a 6 year-old girl that had been in foster care for three years and was finally getting adopted by a family.
The adoption ceremony was that very evening, and seeing God’s hand at work through her
to bring a warm smile on the young girl’s face was an experience Lowe won’t soon forget.
“It’s been my passion since we started” said Lowe of handcrafting each bag with a purpose, accompanied by her fellow volunteers. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and an increased focus on something besides myself,” she said while emphasizing: “it’s not just me – it’s a group of people willing to work on behalf others who don’t really have a whole lot.”
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