ICN Community News
Indiana Central News
Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute, Indiana
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
CARLISLE - Lending a helping hand can take you down some uplifting paths, if you’re part of the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF) PLUS program. Purposeful Living Units Serve Program Coordinator Jackie Storm says that’s why she loves her job. “I’ve never had the opportunity to impact so many people with something as simple as a quilt or a small donation, things we do on a daily basis.”
A recent thank-you letter from an Minnesota-based veterans support group, The Mission Project, brought the impact of “giving back” home to the 19-year facility veteran. Back in late March the PLUS unit sent 50 lap quilts and a specialty quilt (auction/fund raiser) to the group’s founder, Mary Bergerson. She had contacted WVCF for help after watching an MSNBC Lockup segment featuring PLUS quilting.
The unit sent more quilts, 300 in all. They go into care packages sent to our troops around the world, to places like Romania, where thousands are stationed. They go to Minnesota veterans in need, homeless or in crisis. Some of the quilts were given to the Mission Projects PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) support group called “Freedom Fighters.” The Mission Project is committed to mental health, suicide prevention and fellowship for veterans. In her letter Mary told Jackie, “I wish you could have been a fly on the wall to see the joy on the faces of the veterans who received quilts. There was a man who picked out his quilt at the end of the night. He ran his hands over every stitch as he smoothed it out over the table. He asked if he could have leftovers from that night’s meal and then proceeded to roll his belongings in the quilt, tuck it under his arm and mutter under his breath as he left for the night “ You bless me every time I come.”
Mary told Jackie and the PLUS participants, “You are bringing joy and comfort to each person who receives your quilts. I am so happy to be partnering with you.”
Jackie said she had a hard time making it through the letter without becoming emotional. “Not just because of the letter, but because it struck me how much good PLUS does for the community, one person at a time.”
Last year alone the faith and character based unit made and donated 5,511 quilts, 286 purses, totes and backpacks, 775 Christmas stockings, 563 stuffed animals and over 18 thousand dollars to area charities. PLUS is on course to exceed those figures in 2017.
Jackie said, “When PLUS started at Wabash Valley in 2005, I knew it had the potential to change participants for the better. I never dreamed how much helping others continues to help them.” Mission Project founder Mary Bergerson summed it up;
“The quilts are making a difference. They fill a need, but even more than that they open doors. Veterans admire the quilts and as they’re picking one for themselves they often open up and start to tell me their story, or tell what they need, or how much we’re doing makes a difference for them. I honestly can’t begin to express what a difference the PLUS guys are making and how much it means to the vets and myself.”
© Indiana Central News. All rights reserved. Terre Haute, Indiana
News Writer: Lucy Perry