Lutheran World Relief ingathering

Boxcar Loading

Save the Date: Boxcar Loading 2020

September 26th • 7:00am to 11:00am

1890 E Johnson Street • Madison, WI

Lutheran World Relief Boxcar Loading is an annual event and a proud Lutheran tradition, dating back to the earliest days of the Jail Ministry. Every fall, donations come in from more than 80 churches, primarily Lutheran churches in Southern Wisconsin, with occasional representation from Illinois and Iowa. The total weight of the donated items can reach up to 99,000 pounds, as it did in 2016. Each year brings an increasing number of beautiful handmade quilts and kits that include school supplies, personal care items, fabric and sewing supplies, baby care items, and soap.

The supplies travel from Madison to Baltimore where they are temporarily warehoused at a Lutheran World Relief facility until needed in emergency situations in countries around the world. Including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Cameroon, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Philippines, Serbia, Tanzania, and Yemen.

This program undertaken is under the dedication and leadership of Bob Topel, who has generously donated his time, energy, and talent to this ministry for many years. He is joined by Penny Duane, and Hildy McGown, quilter and volunteer, who do a marvelous job compiling donation data that is useful in many ways. Our loading team this year will be a little different this year due to Corona Virus pandemic. We hope to recruit a men's ministry or extended family who is used to working together.

Our partners at WSOR continue to be impressed with the safe operation we run and we are proud of all involved for their consciousness to safety at the railyard.

We look forward to seeing our partners once again this year as we spread the message of God's love to our brothers and sisters in need. Wear a mask, stay safe, and go forward in love.


“Holy Comforters” Sent ‘Round the World: LWR Quilts

Hildy McGown, Advent Lutheran Church, Madison Christian Community

The Lutheran World Relief quilting project was born following WWII, when American women in Lutheran congregations volunteered their time and sewing talent to respond to the need for blankets among the war's survivors in Europe. Six decades later, this holy mission is still going strong, only now the quilts are more likely to end up in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America, or Micronesia. They are given to desperate families who have lost their household goods due to violence, flood, earthquake, or other calamity. Of all the many disaster-relief agencies, only Lutherans distribute quilts.

I was intrigued by turning discarded linens into gifts of beauty and warmth the very first time I heard of the project. The church I belong to, Advent Lutheran in Madison, Wisconsin, did not participate in LWR quilting, but I was determined to start such a group when I retired. That occurred in September 1995.

In the 20 plus years since, the quilters at Advent haven't missed a month without turning out quilts: more than 3,300 so far and counting! Every October, we load up a pickup truck with our 50-70 apple boxes of quilts for our trip to the railroad head in Madison. That's where we encounter trucks and vans full of quilts from Whitewater, Baraboo, Mt. Horeb, and towns all over southern Wisconsin. Volunteers help load the boxcars, sending on their way the sum total of the year's output in quilts--the sum total of a willingly given, collective labor of love.