SPENCERVILLE — With the onset of the dog days of summer, the basement of the Spencerville United Church of Christ is a hot and humid location. The dozen women who gather there each Wednesday and Thursday evening jokingly refer to it as Cindy’s Sweatshop.
But in stark contrast to the negative image the term “sweatshop” conjures up, the work being done by 12 or so congregation members is of a truly positive nature: Making lap quilts for military veterans who are taking part in the hospice programming offered by the Putnam County Home Health agency.
The “Cindy” behind the so-called sweatshop sessions is Cindy Oehlhof, a member of the congregation at the Spencerville UCC who is serving as the director and coordinator of the seamstresses who have adopted the moniker of “Cindy’s Seamsters 102.” They even wear T-shirts to that effect (the 102 refers to the church’s address on Wisher Drive in Spencerville).
The ladies come to the church twice each week — one of the women is 96 years old — to quilt blankets for the ailing military veterans. They have churned out 59 such lap quilts to date. A donation of $3,000 from the Bowersock Brothers Post 6772 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Spencerville provided the seed money for the project, which has been well-received by ailing veterans, according to Pam Sager, executive director of the Putnam County Home Heath and Hospice agency.
The agency also serves the hospice needs of residents in Allen County, said Sager.
Linda Smith, a social worker with the Putnam County agency, is also a member of the Spencerville church. She approached Oehlof about the possibility of making quilts for veterans, the idea took off from there. Smith said the veterans who are participating in hospice programs are “very appreciative” when presented with the blankets.
“And the blankets serve as a precious keepsake and remembrance for their families,” said Sager.
Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, R-4th, visited the church Thursday morning to recognize and praise the women for their efforts. He thanked each of the participants individually, then posed for a group photo.