BEAUMONT—Foster children’s dreams have grown a little sweeter, thanks to Belinda Gibson and Clarice Miller, members of First Baptist Church in Groves.
They have used their sewing talents more than two years to make custom pillowcases for each child who spends time at Buckner Children’s Village in Beaumont.
“There’s not a child that leaves our campus without one,” said Sarah Jones, volunteer engagement coordinator for Buckner. “A lot of the kids get so excited they won’t use them as a pillowcase. Some hang theirs on the wall. Some put them on display. The most special thing is they’re all different.”
Dalton, age 14, agreed.
“I really like the pillowcase because it was made just for me,” he said. “I like the color of mine, and it makes me feel special.”
Gibson and Miller first became connected to Buckner through Cara Walker, a fellow member of First Baptist Church who was starting a new service ministry.
One of Walker’s first projects was redecorating the bedrooms in the emergency shelter for children and teenagers on their way to a foster-care placement.
Gibson and Miller recognized they could contribute their sewing talents to the project. They soon saw it as an ongoing ministry opportunity, and they’ve worked hard ever since to provide a unique gift to every child who passes through Buckner on their way to a foster home.
The seamstresses are careful never to use the same fabric twice. They’ve made almost 300 pillowcases with no duplicates. The only information they receive about each child is a name and age, but many little “coincidences” have added up over their years of serving, Gibson noted.
“One girl came from Vidor High School,” she said. “Come to find out, that little girl got a pillowcase with her school colors.
“There’s not hardly a time that we send the pillowcases and don’t get a story back. One little girl, they told her, ‘You can put this on your pillow.’ But she didn’t. She could get inside the pillowcase, because she was so small. That was her security blanket. There’s just stories after stories—that’s why we’re the ones getting the blessing.”
Gibson has used the pillowcase ministry as a way to share her Christian testimony in fabric stores, too, because employees always ask what project she’s working on when she arrives at the register with a pile of different fabrics.
Gibson and Miller always focus on God and the children.
Feeling God’s love
“Our hope was to make the children of Buckner feel God’s love through this ministry,” Miller said. “We pray for each child who will receive the pillowcases. The people at Buckner are kind to send us notes thanking us for our work and telling us stories about how they were received by the children. But, if there is any glory to be given here, …‘To God be the glory.’”