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Cloth and comfort: Pillowcase ministry offers foster children in Beaumont consolation

For a foster child who frequently moves from home to home, having an item to keep along the way can make them feel at home, which is important when coping with intense emotions.

In 2011, Belinda Gibson and Clarice Miller believed every child in Buckner’s Children’s Village in Beaumont, Texas should have something to call their own, so they decided to give them all handmade pillowcases with their names on it.

“I believe that it is God’s will to do this,” Belinda said. “Getting something with their name on it can make them feel special and give them a sense of belonging.”

Belinda and Clarice are both members of First Baptist Church of Groves. Together they started the pillowcase ministry. Each pillowcase is handmade by Belinda and Clarice in their homes.

Rhonda Robichau, gift officer for Buckner in Beaumont, sends Clarice and Belinda the names and ages of each child who comes into the Children’s Village. Immediately, Clarice and Belinda bathe the name of each child in prayer.

"Following prayer, our Lord reveals in our minds what kind of design to sew onto each pillowcase," Belinda said. 

“No pillowcase is alike,” Belinda explained. “We take a picture of every pillowcase to make sure no design is duplicated.”

To the children, these are more than pillowcases. This is a unique way to say, “This is my bed.”  The children show their gratitude for the pillowcase ministry by sending them written stories and thank you letters.

"It's not about us; it's all about how we can help," Belinda said. "It's very rewarding to send these kids a blessing."

One day, Belinda briefly went into the Children’s Village but was not expecting all the children to recognize her. They ran to Belinda and thanked her. One of the children recently had arrived at the Children's Village and had not yet received a pillowcase. She went up to Belinda and asked, "Will my pillowcase come soon?"

That’s when Belinda knew how important the pillowcases were to the children.

“Rhonda told me there was a little girl who was so tiny, she would cuddle up inside of her pillow case and use it as a sleeping bag while she watched TV,” Belinda said.

Not only are the pillowcases special to the children, they are special to Clarice and Belinda as well. It is something they do to fulfill God’s will and show the children they care about them.

“Making these pillowcases became special to us very quickly,” Clarice said. “Kids are very important to me. I’ve been looking for a way to help children, and God showed me this is it.”

Since they started the pillowcase ministry, Belinda and Clarice have sewn 540 pillowcases and plan to start making blankets for the infants in the Children’s Village.

Belinda and Clarice agree each person has been saved to serve, and God has blessed them with a talent to sew. They hope the pillowcase ministry will plant seeds of hope to help these children recognize the Lord's redemptive presence in their lives.

“We are going to continue doing this until the Lord tells us to stop,” Belinda added. “And even then, I hope someone will take over and continue what we have started.”

Written by Buckner Summer Intern Odufa Atsegbua.

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