Wahpeton Evergreen serves up potholders

Posted on February 13, 2017

“Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”   Matthew 25:40 (The Message)

For the last month the Wahpeton Evergreen UMC sewing group has been diligently working to make potholders to accompany the solar ovens going to the Dominican Republic from Solar Oven Partners.

A group of church members had worked with Solar Oven Partners twice in the past few years, making the 3.5 hour trip to Volga, near Brookings during February and March. One of the volunteers on these trips, Jean Rubish, a 20-year veteran of the sewing group, said, “Working together with Rick [Jost] was great. We enjoyed the fellowship and assembling the ovens. We each brought a sack lunch and had a wonderful trip each time.”

Since Rick Jost was no stranger to Jean and the Wahpeton group, his request last October for 4,000 potholders to accompany solar ovens was like an invitation from a respected friend. Jean and a few others from the Wahpeton Evergreen UMC sewing group set out to secure material and the batting needing to make functional potholders. Julie McGovern in the Evergreen UMC office downloaded and printed the potholder specifications for the group, and the project began to take shape.

As a sewing group, material was not difficult to find, but the special batting to fill the potholders and insulate the cooks’ hands from the hot metal pot handles was in short supply. The Evergreen UMW came through with money to buy enough batting, and as of this writing, the group has over 200 potholders ready to go, with their sights set to make many more. The sewing group is not just about work, though. Jean says the rug-makers and quilters, who meet at the church every Thursday, enjoy their fellowship, food and of course the good coffee. Since they sew from 9 am to 2:30 pm, there is an obligatory “potluck” lunch break, which they plan for at prior meetings. Photo: Bright and cheerful material was chosen for the potholders which will be given to everyone receiving a new solar oven, adding joy to the gift’s usefulness.

The group has been enjoying their local mission work for over 37 years, and have sold many rugs and quilts to raise money for mission projects near and far. They have even provided free quilts for families in the Wahpeton area who have lost all their belonging to house fires. When another need appeared, they made diapers for mothers in Haiti. Those diapers, hand-stitched from any available t-shirts material they could gather, were delivered by Harris Bailey, an Evergreen UMC member who has volunteered with Solar Oven Partners for years. Photo: Back row: Lois Berndt, Lenora Harrison, Celia Rossow, June Edwards; Front row: Jean Rubish, LaRae Gripentrog, Janice Deike, Velora Hensley. Photos courtesy of Wahpeton Evergreen UMC.

In March, Jean Rubish and her husband Merle plan to deliver the group’s potholders to the SOP workshop in Volga, SD (near Brookings), and make a healthy dent in the potholder deficit there. The Wahpeton Evergreen sewing group is an excellent example of United Methodists ready to lean in when they see a need, and make a difference in people’s lives.