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Phyllis Renner, Amy McCumsey and Jenny Lafferty of the North Hills Church of Christ work with Becky Krivak of the Zelienople Church of Christ to make weighted blankets.
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Pennsylvania church turns plastic pellets into a ministry of comfort


Members of the Zelienople Church of Christ in Harmony, Pa., are using their talents — and some leftover plastic beads — to help those with special needs. 

The church members produce weighted blankets, filled with the beads, which gently apply pressure that is believed to have a calming effect. Clinical studies show that weighted blankets can make a person feel a sensation similar to being held or hugged, Autism Parents Magazine reports.

Youth members of the Zelienople Church of Christ worked alongside youth members from the North Hills Church of Christ.

Youth members of the Zelienople Church of Christ worked alongside youth members from the North Hills Church of Christ.

“Compassion for those members of society who have some physical or emotional need is the true spirit of Christianity,” Brian Dowler told The Christian Chronicle. 

Dowler, a member of the Zelienople church, works for Conair — a global supplier of auxiliary equipment and solutions for plastics processors. The company had a surplus of plastic pellets — 1,200 pounds — that were going to be discarded. Dowler asked the company to donate them to the church’s efforts. 

“It’s a great thing that this leftover material can be put to a great use,” Dowler told Plastics News. “Our ‘junk pellets’ will save this team of women about $1,800.”

The biggest benefit, he added, is the help the blankets will bring to families of people with special needs. 

In addition to blankets, church members used the beads in turtle toys.

In addition to blankets, church members used the beads in turtle toys.

The pellets were separated into 25- to 30-pound bags before they were brought to the Zelienople church building. There, ladies from the congregation and a few from nearby North Hills Church of Christ in Pittsburgh sewed the blankets. They were able to make about a dozen — plus some weighted turtle toys. The blankets were donated to the Parents in Toto Autism Resource Center.

“It is especially meaningful to see this coming from a small congregation,” Dowler said. “It shows that our members have good hearts. They love those around them. They want to make a positive impact. And they are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior.”  

The Zelienople church has about 35 people who gather to worship each week. The congregation recently hired a full-time minister, with the assistance of an outside, supporting congregation. The blanket-making is one new effort by the congregation to establish a culture of evangelism, members said. 

Filed under: autism Church of Christ Churches of Christ National News Top Stories weighted blankets

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