Starting in the 1960’s Marie Banister visited M.D. Anderson hospital, she regularly carried cakes and cookies to give to the children and their families. One Sunday evening she had gone to visit a six year old little girl from Rotan, Texas, who was being treated for leukemia. Marie noticed that her mother took something from behind the little girl’s head. It was wrapped in a hospital pillow case. The mother handed it to Marie and asked if she would mind having it laundered for her. It was a pillow made of discarded nylon hose. Marie took it home. It laundered and dried easily. She thought, “If that makeshift pillow did that much good for that little girl, I will collect nylon hose and make them into pillows for other patients.“
Marie recalls that shortly after she began making them, the mothers would meet her at the elevator for a pillow, “There were so many children that no mother wanted her child to be left out.” From that simple beginning, a project was born that still continues. Others have since joined Marie’s pillow project, collecting nylon hose, sewing pillows and delivering them to the hospital. Every week, these volunteers make and distribute hundreds of pillows to bring relief to cancer patients of all ages who use them to prop up arms and legs or to cushion other areas of discomfort. There is also the added comfort that comes from the knowledge that these were lovingly and carefully made.
Nearly 600 items have been made by the ministry ladies and distributed to Lifeline volunteer chaplains, Parkland Hospital, and several ministries at Saturn Road Church of Christ. The items include pillows, lap robes, shadow buddies, ‘ouch’ babies, and special pillows requested by Parkland’s volunteer services. In addition, over 200 specially designed pillows were made specifically for Parkland Hospital’s burn unit camp held each year in June. The ministry, referred to at Saturn Road as the ‘Peace and Comfort Ministry’, has a core group of 25-30 ladies who regularly meet to make these items in Dorcas House, a small house adjacent to the church building. Linda Owen, the ministry leader at Saturn Road, also organizes quarterly breakfasts for the ladies. After the breakfast, the ladies work on cutting and preparing for the next quarter’s sewing.
Linda Owen and the Peace and Comfort Ministry were presented with the Trio Award at the Dallas Lifeline Chaplaincy Benefit Dinner in April. Linda has done a wonderful job of getting the ministry started. Many people have helped, including Jewel Wright, the Houston Soft Touch Coordinator, and Sherrie Bellows, a member at Mesquite Church of Christ. The Mesquite church has been providing a similar service to area facilities for a number of years. Sherrie shared patterns, ideas, and was a great encouragement.
Jan Cox, a member at Saturn Road, is the new volunteer coordinator for the Soft Touch Ministry for the Dallas Metroplex. Her responsibilities include visiting with area congregations to encourage involvement in the Soft Touch Ministry and assisting as needed in the development of the ministry in the area. Jan can be reached at Lifeline Chaplaincy 713-524-1055 or at 972-800-9669.
Just a few days after officially assuming his position as Spiritual Director, Lifeline Chaplaincy – Central Texas, Tom Nuckels had 36 pillows to begin his visits to St. David’s Hospital. These pillows were lovingly made by the ladies at the University Avenue church in Austin, with Ruth Crowson coordinating the ministry for the congregation.
This isn’t surprising at all. The University Avenue ladies have jumped right into the Soft Touch Ministry. They hosted the Austin Soft Touch Ministry kick off on Saturday, June 14. Elaine Gainey organized the morning that began with a continental breakfast. Invitations were sent to nine congregations, but Elaine, with help from some of the other University Avenue ladies was largely responsible for the great attendance-–25 ladies from seven area congregations! The meeting was designed to jump start the ministry. Jan Cox, Dallas area Soft Touch coordinator, spoke. How to organize, where to order labels and other supplies, tips on recruitment and a review of the Soft Touch items were all topics of the meeting. In addition, she had visited St. David’s Hospital volunteer services director the day before to learn ways that Soft Touch Ministry could serve St. David’s beyond supplying pillows. St. David’s has a large rehabilitation facility and wheelchair/walker bags were at the top of the list.
There’s some real ‘Soft Touch’ enthusiasm in Belton. Jan Cox visited with the Belton congregation ladies to kick off the ministry there on July 26. The ladies have a plan formulated to involve more of the Belton ladies, and hopefully share their enthusiasm with some other congregations in the area. Jan met with a representative from the cancer center at Scott and White Hospital before the meeting to seek ways to be of service to them. Several items were requested and the Belton church is ready to meet those needs. Georgia Seals is the power behind this Belton group. She coordinated the meeting on the 26th and even opened her home to Jan.
April flood hits the DUNDY home, Houston USA!
You’re probably wondering who’s Dundy? Seen here on her flooded street is Courtney Coolidge, founder and creator of Dundy, a Puffy Buddy With A Purpose. Read more http://www.ccdundy.com/.
Courtney is a cancer survivor and a friend and donor of hundreds and hundreds of Dundies to Lifeline Chaplaincy’s Compassionate Touch Program. See: http://ccdundy.com/cc_lifeline.html
“Lifeline’s Soft Touch Ministry has made and distributed pillows, lap robes, and other hospital-friendly articles since the 1960’s. Now, with Courtney’s Dundy Buddy Dolls, we have the opportunity to share a particularly welcome “friend” to patients and others in need of a loving hand. It’s an honor to work with Courtney, one who’s heart and soul are in tune with those going through difficult times.”
The Ouch Buddy
The Soft Touch Ministry is going strong in several congregations in Central Texas. Thanks for to a number of people involved in this ministry for making so many wonderful pillows, lap throws and other comforting items for those in the hospital.
One of the cutest and most popular items being made is the Ouch Buddy. Originally designed to give children something to hold and squeeze when a shot was administered to any time that they felt pain, the Ouch Buddy has found a new home with adult patients. It’s about the size of a good hot dog bun and is filled with washable stuffing. The Ouch Buddy is just the right size to fit the hand and squeeze to relieve tension and help a patient relax.
On a recent visit to a nursing home, I went to see a lady who had been transferred from a hospital for continued care. As i visited, I noticed she was holding her Ouch Buddy. The family began to explain to me how Tom Nuckels had visited her in the hospital and provided her with this neat little bundle that was just right to hold.
She had become very attached to it, and they wanted to make sure that it didn’t get lost so they marked her room number on the doll so it could always find its way home. A short time later, the lady gained her victory and went home to be with the Lord. When I attended the visitation, the family made sure I saw that her little Ouch Buddy was to be buried with her. it had been such a comfort to her in her last days.
It may seem like a small thing to stitch up and fill a little piece of cloth, or to make a visit to someone who is sick, but our efforts may really be a great blessing to someone down the line.
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciples, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. -Matthew 10:42