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JustServe Launches in New Zealand With Large Quilt Project

Young women show the quilts they made for a JustServe.org project in Hamilton, New Zealand, in June 2022. The quilts were given to the cancer ward of a local hospital. © 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

Quilts with fabric prints including characters from the Harry Potter series, “My Little Pony,” “Thomas the Tank Engine” and other children’s shows would brighten any fan’s day, but when these handmade quilts were given to the children’s cancer ward in Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand, the nurses became emotional.

Hamilton JustServe specialist Tony Osborne explained why. 

“The nurses at the hospital knew their patients really well, and when they saw the quilts, they knew right away which quilts would be absolutely loved by which child as they each had their own favorite movie or TV show, which would make these quilts even more special,” Osborne said.

The quilts were made by JustServe volunteers in the Hamilton area. JustServe.org is a website and app that connects organizations or groups needing service with volunteers.  

Many of the quilt-making volunteers were young women ages 12 to 17 from four local wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“None had any experience, and so they were somewhat nervous about doing this service. But they thoroughly enjoyed it and asked if they could do some more,” Osborne said. “Some of the children at the cancer ward are terminally ill, and so when this was explained to our young women, they became emotional.”

The day of the donation, two children were being transferred to another hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, for further cancer treatment, and they were able to receive their quilts before they left. 

Volunteers make quilts for a JustServe project in Hamilton, New Zealand, in June 2022. The quilts were given to a women’s refuge center, hospital and other community organizations.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Other handmade quilts were also given to the Hamilton Women’s Refuge, which Osborne said made the leaders happy and a bit tearful. The JustServe volunteers plan to sew even more quilts for the cancer ward and women’s center in the future. 

Volunteers are also making “angel blankets” for Waikato Hospital’s neonatal ward to give to mothers whose babies are stillborn or pass away. Osborne said this service has also touched the young women’s hearts. 

JustServe just launched in New Zealand this year after having been in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries for several years. Richard Hunter is the Church’s area director of communications in New Zealand and the JustServe country specialist. 

“We are thrilled that JustServe has come to New Zealand,” he said. “We’ve seen overseas, and are seeing here, that JustServe resonates with people. It strikes a chord because people, at their cores, want to help others.”

He said newly called stake and area specialists in the cities of Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington are talking with Latter-day Saint and community leaders and others about what they do to help in their neighborhoods. 

“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’re starting small, but we feel that this will grow, especially as people have the experience of going to the website, finding a service opportunity, and then rolling up their sleeves to love and lift in their communities.”

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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