Nancy Hale’s Story
Finding comfort in a chaotic world can be hard. Imagine having something that calms stress, reduces anxiety, facilitates focus and peace, aids in sensory disorders, promotes sleep and so much more. Something you can take with you everywhere you go. This item of comfort sounds wonderful, revolutionary even. Now imagine the benefits this item would have on a child in the foster care system, a child who has faced trauma, a child who is desperate for some comfort in their chaos.
Nancy Hale, a member of Bay Hope Church, and quilter of 25-years is meeting a need in her community through the making of weighted blankets. For the last four years, Nancy and a friend have been using their talent, hobby and church donations to create a beautiful resource for foster families. “Such a simple thing can be so helpful. It is a resource that can aid in their healing,” Hale states. For a long time, she created small quilts for babies in the NICU but when she was asked to create weighted blankets for children facing trauma she jumped to the task. Producing these blankets require a different kind of specialization. There are more supplies, specific sizes and precise weights to make the blankets effective. The work can be labor intensive and particular, but still she sews. “It took me 6-8 months to develop how to do it. It took a lot of research. We make them three pounds. We do it small to keep it accessible to them wherever they are, including school. They fit in a pillowcase. It covers the front of them, they can hug it or wrap it around their neck. It works and it is washable,” Hale explains.
Weighted blankets are often expensive, so with this gift foster families are able to focus on other needs of the child. The process of creation and donation is all behind the scenes – a quiet ministry steaming with purpose. Upon completion, the blankets are passed off to therapists in the community, like Kelli Wild and Loryn Smith, who work with foster children and their families. “I don’t see the results, but I occasionally get to hear them! People are literally blown away that someone would do something for them. I know it brings comfort to people in a time of need, in a way that is totally unexpected,” Hale says.
Those who receive blankets will find a small cloth label with the name of the church and a short message attached to the back. Nancy knows her work is planting a quiet seed in the lives of the receiver; she hopes it makes some look at religion differently. “I know a couple who came to our church because their grandchild received a blanket and now, they are very active in Bay Hope’s ministry,” Nancy told. She understands that people need to be met where they are at and she passionately desires to try and help them in their struggle. She went from having no idea how to make these blankets or the benefits of them to ensuring she did it right via research, questions, trial and error, and working with an occupational therapist. “I wanted it to be very effective. If I am going to do it, it must be done the right way… I think you should do the best work for them. Everything I create, I create as if I am making it for myself. Be empathetic in giving, because you never know if you will be the receiver,” she articulates. What would our world look like if we all chose to offer the gifts God gave us with absolute excellence? Not our tired, distracted, frustrated giving, but our giving that comes from a heart desperate to serve His Kingdom.
Nancy Hale lives by two principles:
- If everyone did what they could do the job would get done.
- Everyone has different talents and we must use them when we can.
Think on those principles. What is the job God is calling you to help get done? What talents can you use to grace His Kingdom?
To some children and families weighted blankets have been an incredible tool used to facilitate healing and restoration. Sew your gifts into God’s kingdom. Answer your calling. So many families are grateful that Nancy Hale answered hers.
- This article was written by Shelbi Hales. Read more about her and her work at her blog: Love Into Freedom