Quilting for MCC: a spiritual commitment

By on February 1, 2012

Making The World A Better Place

By Michelle Brenner In the destruction of war torn Iraq, displaced families receive relief kits. Among the shambles of earthquake ravaged Haiti, schools are being rebuilt. Across drought affected East Africa, emergency food is distributed to the hungry. All of these efforts are only part of the worldwide mission of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a ministry of the Anabaptist churches.

Because of their compassionate work, basic human needs are being met in 23 countries and international peace is being promoted. The supplies for this massive outreach are surprisingly housed in Ephrata in the MCC Material Resources Center on Trout Run Road. It’s the designated, national collection facility for receiving, packing and shipping resources to people around the globe. This international aid program is only made possible because of its supporters and local volunteers like Esther Hostetter.

When she was young, Hostetter learned the importance of caring for those less fortunate. She and her family participated in meat canning work projects that produced valuable food for MCC’s food assistance program. "It’s been in my family’s blood," said Hostetter," meeting the needs of people who may have their needs overlooked."

For over 10 years, Hostetter has been volunteering weekly in the Material Resources Center’s quilt room. There, among other dedicated volunteers, she helps to create works of art that generate substantial income for MCC’s mission. In 2011, sales from quilts yielded $78,500 of income for the MCC’s international mission.

According to Hostetter, quilt making for MCC’s mission is a spiritual commitment from everyone involved.

She explained, "It’s a way of using individual gifts to further the cause of Christ and the mission of the church."

In addition to the spiritual benefits, she claims there’s also a social benefit for all of the quilt room workers.

"We’re a community of our own. We have been a support to each other for years," said Hostetter, "We have shared goals and we’re passionate about MCC. "

Hostetter’s desire to serve was also influenced by serving on a mission project in Puerto Rico.

"I saw poverty in Puerto Rico, she said, " It showed me what was possible to do for people in underdeveloped areas. It leaves you feeling compelled to do what you can."

The mission of MCC offers many opportunities for volunteers like Hostetter. Since 1920, MCC has been raising money for the purpose of relieving suffering in the world. In 2010, nearly $5 million was raised to assist people in need.

Besides working to eliminate hunger, MCC is actively engaged in affecting positive outcomes to devastating social problems also. They participate in providing HIV and AIDS awareness training and relief to people in other countries. They also sponsor a program that offers an opportunity for girls and women to escape lifelong sex work through vocational training.

Hostetter’s passion for the work of the MCC is understandable. In partnership with foreign congregations and communities, MCC has done much to provide emergency aid as well as long term solutions to poverty. Grounded in the Anabaptist church’s beliefs, the work of MCC strives to establish mutual respect with other cultures and promote justice.

As an international relief, development and peace organization, MCC envisions communities worldwide in right relationship with God, one another and creation. This ambitious endeavor is dependent upon the individual contributions of people like Esther Hostetter. Her work at the Materials Resource Center doesn’t just give her greater value and meaning in life. It reaches vast numbers of people in distant places by making their world a better place. More QUILTING, page A12

About Ephrata Review