The Blankets of Comfort ministry makes quilts for foster children


TYLER, Texas (KLTV) — Within the next month, a new department in East Texas aims to deliver its first batch of handmade blankets to child protective services.

With over 16,000 children removed from dangerous situations across Texas, Blankets of Comfort Ministries aims to comfort a fraction of them by offering a gesture to aid in spiritual and emotional healing.

Beginning in Smith County, a patchwork of volunteers will stitch together blankets for the project. Founder Jeannie Ebnet says covering for someone in crisis reminds her of the compassion shown by first responders.

“No matter what type of trauma we all go through, what’s the first thing they do? They put a blanket around you, whether it’s plug, cold or whatever. It’s that comfort of having something around you.

Ebnet, a retired nurse, recently hosted a “blanket party” to introduce interested volunteers to the ministry’s work and teach them how to sew love into every inch of fabric. The concept is simple, yet powerful.

“It’s not about me and what I can do. But it’s about God’s heart and how he feels about these children. And what is his desire that they be comforted, consoled and cared for during the worst part of their lives.

Their goal is to produce a few hundred handcrafted flannel blankets, so Smith County CPS workers are ready with a warm embrace.

A quilting hobby became a vocation for Ebnet. She says she got the idea for the ministry after being diagnosed with very aggressive oral cancer in 2011. Now in remission, she is dedicated to empowering others to serve God.

“Cancer brought me to a point where I was open and seeing something in a different light. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

Initially relying on a network of friends, fellow nurses and now complete strangers, Blankets of Comfort involves women and men of all skill levels.

Initially relying on a network of friends, fellow nurses and now complete strangers, Blankets of Comfort involves women and men of all skill levels.(Source: KLTV staff)

Volunteer Linda Cox does not sew or quilt. Instead, she is involved in volunteer organizing and ministry marketing.

“Wherever he is prayed for, that person will feel that blanket and feel the love of God. That’s the whole point about it.

Her personal connection with host families drew her to the group. Cox grew up in the system and later became a foster parent.

“They will always have this memory of what it was like elsewhere. And I hope it’s a positive memory. And that’s always my goal when I’m an adoptive parent – is to give these kids a memory of what it can be and to know Jesus Christ.

A different person is responsible for a different step in the production process.

Volunteer Becky Olivarez says they are praying for the future recipient along the way.

“We have people who will cut strips, cut letters, wash, iron, put quilts together, sew letters.”

A key part of the design is the stitching of gold letters that spell out words of affirmation in...
A key part of the design is stitching gold letters that spell words of affirmation into a personalized message.(Source: KLTV staff)

A key part of the design is stitching gold letters that spell words of affirmation into a personalized message.

Examples include “You are safe” and “You have a purpose”.

The phrase selection is intentional, Ebnet said.

“Words that mean something when they look at it, that encourage them. That, you know what, I’m someone special. I don’t have to be abused. I don’t have to go through that. I have a meaning.

The finished quilt is ready to comfort and protect once the ministry logo, a sort of guardian angel, is attached.

Eventually, Blankets of Comfort Ministries is looking to expand its efforts to counties in eastern Texas. Ebnet says this will involve designating a “champion” for each county who will help coordinate production within a local team of volunteers.

The band will be at Jacksonville Tomato Fest on July 11 to share their mission and talk to anyone who might be interested in getting involved.

For more information on Ministries of Comfort blankets, visit their website here.

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