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Imagine a situation where all of a sudden you find yourself in a hospital or nursing home, possibly even confined to a wheelchair. Certainly this is not a pleasant prospect. Usually nursing homes and hospitals are a bit cool, so in addition to whatever physical ailments you are suffering from, it would probably be difficult to even stay warm. However, a nice warm quilted lap robe could really help keep you warm and bring some comfort.


Community Service Team at Downey Adventist ChurchThis is where Thelma S. and her two helpers, Maria and Jose F., enter the story. They work all year long making quilted lap robes to distribute around the holidays to people in nursing homes and at the VA Hospital. These lap robes are provided at no cost and bring warmth, love and comfort to people who might otherwise not have any.


One of Thelma’s favorite sweatshirts has a picture of a kitten with some scraps of material and yarn and the caption reads “When life gives you scraps, just make a quilt.”  It’s more than just a cute sweatshirt. It’s how Thelma, Maria and Jose help others. All materials for the quilts are donated. They get scraps of material from wherever possible and make the lap robes. The desired size for their quilt patches is 5 inches square, but if they have smaller pieces, then they stitch the smaller pieces together to make a large piece. This is time consuming, but nothing is wasted.


Thelma, who is from the Downey Seventh-day Adventist church, and Maria and Jose, who are from the Baptist church in La Mirada, meet every Wednesday morning at the Downey Adventist church to make the lap robes. There are some other people who help by providing materials and doing some work at home. But the majority of the work happens when these three people come together in this labor of love on Wednesday mornings.


Thelma display's some of the lab robesWhen asked what motivates them to work so hard all year long, Thelma related the following two stories. She was visiting someone in a nursing home and she saw a woman with a towel over her lap trying to stay warm. The lady just kept repeating that she was cold. Fortunately, Thelma had a lap robe and was able to give it to the woman. “She was so grateful for something so simple,” states Thelma, “It just touches your heart.” Another time Thelma went to visit a friend at a nursing home and found her in tears. She determined that her friend’s lap robe was missing. Thelma quickly rectified the situation, bringing physical and spiritual warmth and comfort to her friend.