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Tying for a good cause

Posted 11/17/10 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

A toothbrush, pajamas, socks and underwear are possessions that most people take for granted. However, for abused children, the simple gift of these and other everyday necessities can make a huge difference in their life.
Project Night-Light strives to give thousands of child abuse victims a piece of security and hope through it’s Bag of Hope program. And this past weekend, members of the Watford City Assembly of God Church had the opportunity to help make a difference in the life of an abused child when they gathered to make 400 fleece tie blankets.
Through Project Night-Light, an organization based in the Fargo-Moorhead area, children are provided important items needed when they are examined by their local advocacy center or hospital for sexual abuse or neglect. Last year 3,583 children were seen around the state for abuse or neglect, and it is the goal of Project Night-Light to equip each child that enters a hospital or advocacy center to be seen for these reasons with a Bag of Hope.
Every Bag of Hope includes a fleece tie blanket, flashlight, pajamas, socks, underwear, water bottle, fruit snacks, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and the book, “You Are Special,” by Max Lucado.
“The kids that are brought into advocacy centers are coming from severe cases. These are the cases that are beyond Social Services help,” says Rev. Pebbles Thompson, Project Night-Light founder. “These kids are going through the worst of the worst and through the Bag of Hope, we want these kids to feel that this gift was made especially for them with the best of the best. We want them to know that they are worth every minute and every penny that went into this bag.”
As part of Project-Night Light, Thompson travels to churches throughout North Dakota sharing her mission, which is exactly how the Watford City Assembly of God found out about the Bag of Hope.
“When Pebbles came to our church, we took up a collection for her mission and the congregation was very generous,” says Sheldon McGorman, Watford City Assembly of God pastor. “Partly because Pebbles is a friend of mine and because this is such a great cause, I wanted to do more. Everyone can give money, but I decided to challenge my congregation to do something more, something physical.”
After speaking with Thompson, McGorman decided to challenge his congregation to make 400 fleece tie blankets. A challenge they jumped into hands first.
“I challenged the congregation to make 400 blankets because that is how many Project-Night Light gave out last year,” adds McGorman. “I knew we would have a great turnout to make blankets, but I never expected it to be this big. The congregation did a great job of being unified for a common goal. This was a great way to make a difference.”
Congregation members from six to 86 started by cutting the blankets on Saturday, a feat that took more than eight hours. Then on Sunday, members of the church spent two hours tying the blankets before they were packed into a trailer for the trip back to Fargo.
“This event was amazing,” comments Thompson. “I have some churches that make 40 blankets a month, but I have never had a group like this. This comes from big vision, and that is something that Sheldon and I have in common. I’m always encouraging people to change the world. Even if you can’t feed 1,000 people, if you can feed only one, you have still changed the world. That is what we did here today. These people worked together to change the world one person at a time.”
For more information on Project Night-Light, go to www.ndnightlight.org.