The gift of warmth through a needle and thread

The Great Winter Warm-Up

A photo of a colorful quilt made with squares and triangles.

With the cold weather of winter wrapping its icy fingers around us, many are fortunate to take refuge in heated homes and snuggle up under a blanket beside a crackling fire to keep the chill away.

Many of our global neighbors around the world are not as fortunate. Thousands of individuals and families in countries like Syria, Ukraine and Jordan have been forced to leave their homes due to disaster or conflict — taking little with them, including the comfort of a blanket.

Every February, MCC invites sewists and compassionate people alike to donate comforters through The Great Winter Warm-Up and help take the sting out of winter’s chill for people in need. All through using a needle and thread.

Last year, 38,148 comforters from across Canada and the U.S. were donated to internally displaced people in Ukraine like this young mother.*

A Ukrainian woman wearing a backpack stands next to a pile of bedding, pillows and a small mattress. She has a pikachu plushie under her arm
A young mother* receives humanitarian assistance, including an MCC handmade comforter, from Uman Help Center in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Uman Help Center).

As soon as the shelling started, this young mother and her child had to quickly evacuate her village in the eastern part of the country and move to central Ukraine.

As she was preparing to leave, it was hard for her to grapple with the reality that the war had really begun. “What can you gather in such a panic when your hands are shaking from fear?” she said.

When she arrived in central Ukraine, she and her child were given shelter. She was grateful to be away from the horrors of war but lacked essential items for daily life.

MCC-supported Uman Help Center provided much-needed assistance for the family, including a handmade MCC comforter.

“It is wonderful; it is so colorful and smells of new fabric. When the war ends, I will take it home with me!” said the young woman.

Her story is not unique among the displaced people living in Ukraine.

Two Ukrainian women stand together holding blankets
Olena* (right) receives a handmade comforter from staff* at Uman Help Center in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Uman Help Center)

Olena* and her family were also forced to leave their home after the Russian military invaded Ukraine.

Olena and her husband worked hard all their lives to provide their children with everything they needed. In one moment, everything was lost. Olena never thought there would be a time when she would be seeking shelter in a different city, not being able to afford clothes, bedding, blankets and other essential items.

“In the summer when it was warmer, we could manage. But now it is getting colder and colder.” She began covering her child with extra T-shirts, and she herself is wearing layers to keep warm. In these difficult times, each person has their own sense of what is valuable. For Olena, an ordinary blanket is a dream come true.

As Olena received the MCC comforter, she held it tightly and said, “You have no idea how much we need it!”

You can help fill the need for comforters for people affected by disaster and conflict around the world during The Great Winter Warm-Up.

If you are handy with a needle and thread, create a comforter to bring to the MCC kit drop-off location nearest you during the month of February. Sew in the comfort of your home or create a group to sew with.

If sewing a comforter is not in your wheelhouse, consider donating toward the cost of sending a comforter to someone in need.

No matter how you contribute, your donation will help people in need feel the warmth of God’s love.

*First and/or last names withheld for security purposes.