- Associated Press - Sunday, March 8, 2015

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) - The “Faithful Remnants” recently made their 98th “ugly quilt” for the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission.

“Faithful Remnants” is the name that Peg Staton has for herself and her mother Betty Tanksley, who is legally blind. Together, they have been making the handmade bedrolls from just about anything they can find for the past 10 years.

“This is a national ministry that started in the 80s when a lady was helped by a street person. She wanted to repay him so she made him a blanket. The pattern has remained the same since that time,” Staton said.

Before she started working on the quilts, Tanksley said she had no idea about homelessness. But once she was involved, there was no stopping her.

Over the decade, Tanksley has never missed a session. If her daughter can’t make it, she simply phones a friend to take her to the Anderson Street United Methodist Church, where they assemble the bedrolls.

“I’ll never forget the lady who lived at the Grace Home who came to help us make a blanket. She told us that she wished she could’ve gotten one when she lived under the bridge. That just got to me,” Tanksley said, choking back tears.

The bedrolls are delivered to the Haven of Rest as soon as they are complete because the two can’t bear the thought of the quilts sitting in Staton’s house when someone could be in need.

“When the New York Times went on strike years ago there was an increase in weather-related deaths among the homeless. They relied on newspapers to keep them warm and out of the elements. If newspapers make that much of a difference between life and death for a homeless person, just think of how much difference these blankets make,” Staton said.

When the bedrolls are complete, the women place a pair of socks, gloves, a small bag of toiletries and a scripture inside. They then lay their hands on each blanket and pray a blessing over the gift.

“Sometimes, we’ll have a homeless person come by that doesn’t want to stay in the shelter and needs something to keep them warm and we give them one of the bedrolls. We give out two to three a month,” said Dwayne Baird, CEO of the Haven of Rest in Bristol, who added that the bedrolls are “awesome and the love and compassion that the women put into making them is priceless.”

People who know about the ministry donate old blankets, kite string, thread, socks and gloves for the pair to use. Staton said they can use anything that is brought in.

“Sometimes, I think we’re running out of stuff and I get in a panic. Then just when it’s time to make a quilt, the stuff will just start showing up. It’s just like the loaves and the fishes, we give what we have and it’s multiplied,” Staton said.

Anyone who would like to help make the quilts can show up at the church the third Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m.

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