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Priscilla Randall, (right) the founding member of Needles for Jesus, and Helen Pope (left) sew at the First United Methodist Church. 

As the Needles for Jesus sewing group at the First United Methodist Church celebrated its 20th anniversary, the community focus has not wavered. The group serves those in need, especially children, through sewing.

Needles started at the old First United Methodist Church, now the student activities center for Georgia College, in 2002 with the help of the founding member Priscilla Randall.

“I was praying about it, praying about it, and finally … someone said, ‘why don’t you get a group together to sew or crochet,’” Randall said. “…That was the beginning. I think it was a message from the Lord, this would be a good thing for ladies.”

About a decade ago, First Methodist church relocated to Log Cabin Road, which allowed for Needles to expand its operation. At first, the group was in a small room, which is now the chapel, and had to fan out into separate rooms.

“You can see the space we had and we had to expand elsewhere,” said Johanna Adams, leader of the Needles for Jesus project. “We have just been so blessed they [the church] gave us a huge room and set up shelves for the machines and everything for us.”

An average of about 10 women meet at the church each Tuesday to work on projects such as crafting quilts for the Methodist Children’s Home, stitching scarves, chemo hats and lap blankets for Harriet’s Closet (located at the local hospital) and many other projects.

COVID-19 changed Needles for a little more than a year, but that did not stop its service to the community. While the members were cooped up in their homes they helped out the community in the only way they saw fit, sewing masks.

“We made around 2,000 masks between us that we donated to the hospitals and the hospice care centers,” Adams said. “It was wonderful. They said it was a big help because they weren’t able to get masks.”

Some materials were hard to come by, such as elastic, but community members donated materials to help Needles. They coordinated with the community, including doctors, to distribute the masks to those in need. 

About six weeks ago, the group started meeting again in person. Although they are a group interwoven through their work throughout the community, their embroidery runs deeper than thread and cotton.

“[We are] best friends,” said Randall. “Our group, we are all friends because we all know of each other’s challenges in life and losses … that come and be supportive of each other.” 

Before COVID-19, group members met for lunch where they fellowshipped with one another through prayer requests and devotionals.    

Currently, Needles is donating quilts to Project Linus this summer, a national organization that donates blankets for children of trauma or sickness, as well as items for the pregnancy center and sewing dignity bibs for the Georgia War Veterans Home.

The goal for the group as it pushes the pandemic behind it is for more donations of 100% cotton fabric and primary-colored cotton fabric so members can make quilts for children. In addition, anyone is welcome to join Needles, regardless of whether they are a member of the church or not.

Those interested in donating materials to Needles, bring the materials to the First United Methodist church on Log Cabin Road. All materials are accepted, but the group can only use 100% cotton in the materials they create. Other materials will be passed on to another program in the community that can use them. For more information or to arrange a donation, call the church at 478-452-4597. 

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