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Local group making mittens for children in Jamaica

A local group of women affiliated with Woodbury Lutheran Church are making and selling mittens for charity to raise money for the Robin's Nest orphanage near Montego Bay in Jamaica. Submitted photo.

A group of women are making mittens for orphans in Jamaica?

It's true. The women, based out of Woodbury Lutheran Church, started making and selling the mittens about a year ago after one of them, Linda Wilford, had returned from her fourth mission trip to the Robin's Nest Orphanage just outside of Montego Bay.

Wilford said she and others who had participated in the mission effort at the orphanage agreed they wanted to continue to help the children of Robin's Nest and decided they would use their sewing skills to do so.

Wilford organized the mitten-making group she calls the "Hot Mamas," to meet every Wednesday afternoon.

The women make the mittens out of old sweaters and sell them for $20 a pair for charity.

To date they have raised more than $24,000 through their efforts, enough money to purchase a van for the Robin's Nest, which helps transport the children to doctors appointments and activities in their community. Woodbury Lutheran Church has taken on Robin's Nest as a mission project.

Previously the only form of transportation available to the orphanage, which houses 30-plus children, was an old school bus that was, to say the least, an uncomfortable ride, said Colleen Johnson, a "Hot Mamas" mitten maker, who has spent time at Robin's Nest.

"That old bus they use to transport the kids on that bumpy road to the orphanage shook your insides," said Johnson, who has made two trips to the orphanage. "Those poor kids. We only had to put up with it for a few days."

Each Wednesday, the "Hot Mamas" meeting begins with a small lunch, usually soup and sandwiches. The group members then dive right into their activity amid their conversations. The enthusiasm for their work is evident.

Whenever someone finishes a pair of mittens, another member of the group rings a bell and the entire group, made up of about a dozen or so women, let's out a cheerful holler.

They then attach a small card into the mitten that describes the "Hot Mamas" mission and asks the purchaser to say a prayer for the Robin's Nest children whenever they put the mittens on.

Wilford said she often thinks about the children she met at the orphanage and prays for their well-being. She said the "Hot Mamas" group allows her to continue to help the orphans in a small way. Many of the children at Robin's Nest were abandoned and/or severely abused.

"When you're there you just fall in love with these kids, and when you come home you're still thinking about them," Wilford said. "This is an outlet for us to continue to work to make their lives a little better."

The "Hot Mamas" are looking for places where they can sell their products. If you can offer them space, or if you want more information on how to purchase a pair of Hot Mama Mittens, contact Linda Wilford at 651-458-0147.