A ministry through Auburn United Methodist Church uses their sewing and knitting skills to comfort families of the Auburn area through hard times.
Haldine Baxter, founder of the Auburn chapter, said Threads of Love is a Christ-centered ministry that provides clothing for newborns who are sick in the hospital or who have passed away through stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death.
“It’s about healing and binding the hearts of parents at a time when their baby’s health is uncertain,” she said.
According to the Threads of Love website, Sissy Davis, the director of Threads of Love started the organization in 1993 when a pediatrician voiced a need for burial clothing for premature babies to her church’s pastor.
Davis’ pastor asked her to help with making the clothes. From there the group has grown into a ministry with 127 chapters spanning across the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, the website said.
Each person’s journey to volunteer for Threads of Love is somewhat different. Baxter said she got involved with Threads of Love when she lived in Montgomery as a way to connect with her friends at their local church.
“I would sew and mail the items that I made back [to their church],” she said. “Then when I moved over to Auburn, I organized a chapter here.”
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The local Auburn chapter provides baby clothes and other items to East Auburn Methodist Church, Women’s Hope, Baby Steps and Piedmont Columbus Regional. The local chapter is made up of volunteers from Auburn and Opelika who, now working from home, send in their items each week.
Before COVID-19, the group would meet at the Auburn United Methodist Church.
The ministry provides a number of clothing items for babies including caps, blankets, handkerchiefs and gowns. The nurses in the hospitals will use these items to dress the premature babies that have passed away for their parents to view them one last time.
“We use donations from the local area that provide us fabrics constantly and materials; we seldom ever have to purchase anything,” Baxter said. “It’s not only a ministry for these parents; it’s therapy for them to be able to open up and talk.”
Donna Kelly, a local volunteer for the Auburn chapter, said she was a member of Auburn United Methodist Church, which houses the ministry.
“The church had a display out, and it caught my eye when I saw it,” Kelly said. “My next-door neighbor had just had a premature 2-pound baby that did not survive. I wanted to find clothing for the baby so that they could bury it, but there wasn’t anything available.”
Soon after, she was able to get in touch with Haldine Baxter and was given small projects to work on.
“I was still working for the University during this time, so I sewed from home and donated the pieces I made,” Kelly said.
The clothes are made for not only premature babies, but also babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“I just wanted to help families when they were in the worst of times, when they’ve lost a child,” Kelly said.
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