Carpets made by the Hastings couple help the less fortunate breathe easier | News


For Marge and Dave Peterson, falling asleep at the wheel of misfortune is not an option.

The Hastings couple have been making bespoke floor mats for people in poor countries for more than five years. Made in different sizes – a children’s rug, for example, measures around 4 feet by 2 ½ feet – crocheted rugs are assembled from plastic bags and yarn, making them resistant to wet weather conditions.

For the retired couple, the project has become a labor of love, facilitated by their involvement with the Nebraska branch of Orphan Grain Train, a charity that ships donations of food, clothing, mats and equipment. other items to people in financially disadvantaged countries who need them. more.

After making some 65 mats for distribution last year, they’ve added 10 more this year, with perhaps four more completed by this reading.

The mats are designed to reduce the risk of bacterial infection that leads to lung disease. Interior fused plastic bags help keep users drier and safer.

Using a pattern provided by a representative of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, volunteers across the United States work year-round to provide thousands of these mats to be shipped to terminals coast to coast.

“You get addicted to doing it,” Marge said. “When we have so much in this country and you see the need for it, it’s just something you naturally want to do. We are grateful for what we have and can help.

Beneficiaries of the Orphan Grain Train’s charitable services include Russia, Latvia, Estonia, the Baltic States, Mexico and many countries in South America. Needs around the world continue to exceed daily demand to meet even the most basic needs. And that, Marge says, can be heartbreaking.

“I just wish I could send a group to Ukraine because they need it,” she said. “They sleep on the floor.”

Dave, on the other hand, doesn’t crochet, but can help cut the plastic bags used to insulate the rugs. As an Orphan Grain Train volunteer, her main role is to pack containers at the Grand Island Terminal for shipment to recipients around the world.

A team of 10 to 12 people, mostly retired men, spend about two hours loading the containers with supplies including clothing, mats, bicycles, furniture and basic medical supplies from doctors and nurses. dentists.

Volunteers of all ages lend a hand sorting and washing donated clothes. Items are sorted into specific categories, packed, labeled and shipped, with detailed records kept to meet bill of lading requirements.

“There are a number of volunteers that make it work,” Dave said. “What’s amazing is that the Grand Island terminal is one of many that Orphan Grain Train has across the country. There is at least one in every state.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to take things that are thrown away and help people in different countries around the world. It’s a very, very efficient organization; it’s like getting 97 cents on every dollar delivered for disaster relief and humanitarian needs. We were really lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer.


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