WIGBack (Yarn Ministry)
After the tragedy of 9/11, an Advent member who worked with women at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility had an idea.
What if the women who were incarcerated could learn to crochet?
What if they could begin to make things to share with others?
She was especially moved by the plight of children and women in Afghanistan after the US began military operations there at the beginning of winter. Sadly, all the relief agencies she contacted wanted money, not the finished goods. So, this dedicated woman and others decided to help children and women in Milwaukee’s inner city, and found a way to make this program possible. The result: WIGBack (Women Incarcerated Giving Back) was born!
The women involved in this program not only crochet, they now also quilt, making beautiful prayer shawls, throws and blankets that are shared with hospitals, shelters, schools, veterans and many other non-profits serving those in need or hard situation.
Some of the beautiful items made by the ladies at Ellsworth are given as baptism blankets, and others go to Stork's Nest and the NICU for preemies at St. Joe’s Hospital in Milwaukee.
The Stork's Nest Ministry was established in the early 2000s to support low income childbearing families in Milwaukee's central city. (See below for more information on Stork's Nest.)
In addition, Advent community members and friends (and friends of friends) are given blankets and throws that are circulated among the congregation during worship, to be prayed over and blessed.
One woman’s idea is changing countless lives. Besides creating beautiful items to share with those in need, the women have a positive activity to do during their incarceration. Violence among the women at Ellsworth has decreased sharply since the WIGBack program began.
In the words of Jane White, who began the program:
“The program just keeps growing. I was told from day one that 'the inmates would lose interest in a month'. That never happened, they love it - and I love them for doing a wonderful thing for all people in need, so we never say no to anyone.
We have joined with other ministries to help us distribute some of the items. One ministry heard about us from HOLY HILL!
Another smaller ministry takes some of our blankets and goes into inner city homes where people are in need. He visited one lady at home right before Christmas. She started to cry when he gave her the blanket and told her where is came from. She said, ‘Oh I know all about this wonderful program, you see I was once an inmate there and I made blankets for Ms. White, now I am getting one.’
I guess our Lord went full circle on this one. This program belongs to God and my wonderful inmates that are healing from the inside and developing healthy souls. Praise be to God.”
CAP AODA (WIGBack) is a 501c3 non-profit.
If you want to find out more about this ministry, how to help, or know some folks who could use some of the items made by the ladies, contact the Advent church office at 262 377-2710 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on Stork’s Nest:
The Stork's Nest Ministry was established in the early 2000s to support low income childbearing families in Milwaukee's central city.
According to Jane White, the Stork's Nest served as the inspiration for Advent's now famous yarn and knitting ministry. The Stork's Nest ministry has evolved over the years. Currently, a portion of the open plate offering is designated for EMBRACE ministries. It is supported by some of the open plate offerings and other designated gifts.
Members of the Advent Youth Group shop for layette items and assemble them in colorful gift bags for new families. Each gift bag contains a beautiful baby blanket made by women from Ellsworth Prison Yarn Ministry. These gift bags are distributed to new mothers and their babies who give birth at Aurora Sinai, Milwaukee. These layettes are really appreciated and cherished.