McMinnville Bags Love for Community

December 21, 2017 | Michelle McMillen

The Bags of Love outreach program meets in the McMinnville (Ore.) Church’s Friendship Hall twice a month. A small but faithful group runs this quiet ministry, which began at the Apache Junction Church in Arizona and was introduced in McMinnville by Delores Ringering. Nancy Reed now leads the outreach.

What is a Bag of Love? It is a bag containing a soft, handmade quilt; an age-appropriate toy, game or stuffed animal; and personal hygiene items such as toothbrush and toothpaste. The bags made by the McMinnville group are given to Child Protective Services (CPS) in Yamhill and Polk counties for children who have to be taken from their homes due to unsafe conditions. The children often don't have time to grab any personal items.

Many of these children are abused or neglected; they are usually afraid and feel alone. A “love bag” can be something to cling to, and the quilt is like a warm hug — reminders there is love and kindness in the world, even though the kids never know who prepared the bags. Each quilt, however, does have a sewn-on tag stating it was made for the child by loving hands at the McMinnville Church and includes the church's phone number.

The McMinnville Church group gave 70 quilts to children through CPS in 2016. In May 2017, they worked more than 250 hours to qualify for a monetary donation through First Federal Savings and Loan Association’s Community Giving program.