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Inside Patches for Peace quilting ministry

October 17, 2011

Moshi children with their new clothing, food and other donated items all delivered as part of the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl project

Founder, Gerry Hingst, put her passion and talents to work over the summer by teaming up with IRIS to donate dresses, shorts, and quilts to Tanzanian youth during the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl.

“My passion, outside of my church and family, has been sewing and quilting,” said Hingst. For many years, she has been involved in several groups of women who are very generous with their time and talents. Hingst started Patches for Peace because she said, “It was natural to start a ministry where our skills could benefit others.” When she gets word of those in need, Hingst calls her friends, and together they work to sew whatever is needed. “Everything we sew and all the fabrics are of course donated, or sometimes bought if we are unable to sew,” she said.

Before her quilting ministry took off, Hingst worked with Drake University’s football program for 22 years. “I was one of the fortunate people who loved my job and the people I worked with,” she says. After retirement, Coach Creighton and his staff informed Hingst of the Kilibowl trip to Tanzania (more information below). This opportunity provided her with the chance to put her talents to use, and stay connected with her beloved Bulldogs.

Drake football players with children of Moshi

While in Moshi, The Drake football players packed Patches for Peace’s handcrafted children’s outfits alongside their football gear during the three days of volunteering on IRIS projects. They distributed these clothing items to the children of the orphanages throughout the community where they volunteered. “The children who received the donated clothing treasured, what for many of them, was the first time in their lives they had ever received a new outfit to wear,” said IRIS Executive Director, Del Christensen.

Mama Mary Minja, IRIS regional coordinator for Moshi, Tanzania helps orphans in Moshi display new clothes they received through Patches for Peace and the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl project

Today, Hingst feels what she calls “a strong calling to get out and use my time and skills to help others.” She spends much of her time volunteering at the Iowa State Fair sewing children’s quilts, at libraries with children’s sewing programs, and will soon help at Mitchellville Women’s prison. With sewing programs she also serves on the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild board as their Treasurer. The guild supports many local charities such as ConKer Cancer, New Direction Shelter, Broadlawns Pediatrics, Lutheran Hospital Children Unit, House of Mercy, St. Joseph’s Family Shelter, Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald House and several others. They recently held an auction and raised $13,000 for American Heart, Breast Cancer and Women’s Cancer Research programs.

Along with helping with the Quilts of Valor for veterans, Hingst attends and supports various programs at St. Cate’s and is on the St. Catherine’s of Siena Foundation Board in Des Moines, Iowa. The board supports Drake student’s outreach studies and projects.

Between her time with Drake University and many charity organizations, Hingst said, “I feel I am blessed to be a part of these great programs and am always inspired by the wonderful people I work with. I hope I can continue for many years.”

Drake players spent much of their time with the youth of Moshi during their stay

Global Kilimanjaro Bowl– In May 2011, IRIS partnered with Drake University, CONADEIP and Global Football for an international endeavor. The two teams traveled to Tanzania to play the first collegiate American football game on African soil. The game was held in Arusha, Tanzania, but that was only one small part of the project. During the trip, the teams also conducted youth sports clinics, volunteered in rural villages and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Along with distributing Patches for Peace donations, the teams spent three days doing service projects. At the end of the three days of volunteering, the more than 150 athletes and coaches had built two new classrooms, one orphanage dormitory, repaired and painted classrooms in four schools, built four different recreational facilities and planted more than 500 trees. Nearly thirty alumni and selected YES students traveled from around the country to participate in the volunteer project component of the Kili Bowl.

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