THERMAL SHELTER BAGS

Henrietta Sanders, left, and Andra Logan, right, stack sleeping bags inside Buckton Presbyterian Church as they prepare to distribute the homemade items to the Front Royal Thermal Shelter. A group of 15 area women created an assembly line as they crafted clothing scraps for the shelter, which plans to open Dec. 22.

FRONT ROYAL — The women of the Buckton Presbyterian Church have sought a way to help keep the homeless in Warren County warm this winter.

The group, which meets two Wednesdays a month, has been working since spring to prepare various items, from quilts and blankets to toiletries, to distribute to the homeless.

Linda Allen, a citizen volunteer who works with the homeless in Warren County, said that the church alerted her to the project.

“I met them and they have the most joyful spirit that you can imagine,” Allen said. “If you want to feel good, you can come here. It’s just inspiring.”

The project was started by Gayle Eaton Schaeffer, a member of the Buckton Presbyterian Church. Andra Logan, who is also a member of the church and has worked with the church on the project for five years, said that she wanted to be involved with the project because of the camaraderie and because she likes to help people.

“We all have different little stories on how things got put together,” Logan said. “Somebody knew this person, who knew that person who did this thing. It’s all kind of linked.”

Logan said that women from various parts of the Shenandoah Valley have come together for the cause.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from or what denomination you are. It’s a common thing of doing something for someone else,” she said.

A group of 15 women helped out with this year’s project. A dozen of those women help out on a regular basis, Logan said. Henrietta Sanders, a member of Buckton Presbyterian Church, has been involved with the church’s efforts since the beginning.

“We all help,” she said. “We have so many helpers from other churches. They just fit right in. It’s a wonderful group. It really is.”

Logan said that the process of making a quilt or sleeping bag begins with putting a 7-by-7 sheet down and putting whatever material the women are working with on the sheet. The process continues with measuring the material and pinning it together. Next, the women begin a process called tying, which involves bringing multiple layers together and then knotting the material with needle and thread. After stitches are applied, the final task is to firmly secure the materials at the sewing machine.

“They’re like an assembly line,” Allen said.

Since around the end of March, the group has managed to get 20 quilts, sleeping bags and other projects done. At the time of the visit to the church on Dec. 6, the products of the hard work the women had put in were loaded up in vehicles to be distributed to the homeless in Warren County by Allen and other volunteers.

Logan said that the church takes donations for the project any time throughout the year. She said they accept anything from blankets to materials for the quilts.

“If you’re going to get rid of something, we’ll take it,” Logan said. “If you’re going to get new sheets or if you have old blankets, we’ll find a use for them. We can put it all together for somebody to use to get some warmth.”

Logan said that the church group is always looking for volunteers when work resumes in the spring.

“We can always use more hands,” she said.

Contact Donald Lambert at dlambert@nvdaily.com