Jenna Kempf helps her daughter Maddy knot a comforter at the 2023 Ohio MCC Comforter Bash. (MCC photo/Jennifer Steiner)

By Jennifer Steiner
MCC Great Lakes

Individuals and groups from northeast Ohio will gather on March 8-9 for a hands-on project to bring warmth and comfort to people they will likely never meet.

The Ohio MCC Comforter Bash will take place at Fairlawn Mennonite Church, 8520 Emerson Road, Apple Creek, Ohio.

Hours are as follows:
Friday, March 8 – 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 9 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Food will be available by donation throughout the days.

Participants will work together to combine handmade comforter tops, warm batting and sturdy backing fabric into warm, durable and beautiful comforters. The squares of fabric that make up the comforter tops have already been sewn together, so volunteers will primarily knot the layers together.

Organizers have a goal of making 250 comforters over the two-day event. Each handmade comforter is unique and provides not only warmth but also a tangible message to people that their needs are not forgotten. Sarah Doerksen, MCC Great Lakes Ohio Material Resources Coordinator, says that making someone a handmade comforter may seem like a small thing, but the impact is priceless.

(L-R) Elijah King, Isaac Obri, Allison Hochstetler, Chloe Obri, Mara Steiner and Harris Steiner volunteered at the 2023 Ohio MCC Comforter Bash. Throughout two days on April 21-22, volunteers gathered in Kidron for a Comforter Bash where they worked together to knot 220 comforters for MCC. (MCC photo/Jennifer Steiner)

This is the fourth Comforter Bash held in northeast Ohio. Last year, volunteers knotted 220 comforters over two days. The inaugural event took place in January 2020 as part of MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up with events across the U.S., Canada and beyond. The Ohio event was postponed in 2021 but has grown each year since then.

“Last year we had many young families participate in the comforter knotting who appreciated a local service opportunity that they could do as a family,” said Doerksen. “We also had a great outpouring of support from both the Amish and Mennonite communities, though you don’t have to be Amish or Mennonite to come and learn how to knot a comforter to help those in need around the world.”

Caleb Pearce and Ken Neuenschwander work together to knot a comforter at the 2023 Ohio MCC Comforter Bash. (MCC photo/Jennifer Steiner)

The event is being held at a new location in 2024 (Fairlawn Mennonite Church), as the previous location in Kidron was already booked for spring weekends. “We hope that people are still willing to travel the extra few miles to volunteer,” says Doerksen. “We’ve had volunteers participate from several hours away and even a few that traveled from other states to join in the fun.”

Last year MCC shipped 59,277 comforters to communities in Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Malawi, Syria, Ukraine and Zambia, along with Canada and the U.S., including Puerto Rico.

Doerksen had the opportunity to travel to Zambia in southern Africa this fall with MCC to meet some of the people who received these comforters. “It was very impactful to meet first-hand recipients of MCC comforters,” reflected Doerksen. “We visited the Pure Hope Children’s Home in the Meheba Refugee Camp where 21 children live in Zambia. Some have been orphaned, while others come from vulnerable family situations.”

After the group had finished eating together, the children were excited to show the MCC visitors the dormitory rooms where MCC comforters were being used on their bunk beds. “One of the boys, an 11-year-old named Gift, was especially delighted to show me his bunk,” remembers Doerksen. “He had been living at the home for two years when I met him.”

Mujawayesu Emelita displays her MCC comforter at Meheba Refugee Settlement Camp in Zambia. Lack of access to essential basic supplies has overwhelmed vulnerable persons in the refugee camp. MCC is providing protein-rich food in the form of canned meat and supplying material resources such as blankets and hygiene supplies. (MCC Photo/Karla Koehn)

The group also met Uwizeyiman Vanessa who traveled through the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola before settling at Meheba. Before receiving her MCC comforter, she used a very thin white sheet and would often wake up at night because she was cold. Now, with the comforter, she says that she is very nice and warm, joking that she sometimes sleeps in because she is so cozy. She says, “Whatever you can provide, I am very grateful.”

In addition to the comforters, MCC also provides other material resources for people living in the refugee camp including canned meat, school kits and dignity kits.

MCC was founded in 1920 when groups of Mennonites and Mennonite Brethren formed a committee to provide food and other assistance to people affected by war and famine in southern Russia, which is present-day Ukraine.

Today MCC provides humanitarian relief, encourages sustainable development and strengthens peacebuilding initiatives in 45 countries. Comforters and blankets have been part of MCC’s relief resources ever since the end of World War II.

Organizers are excited to hold the community event again this year and invite people of all ages and abilities to join the Comforter Bash on March 8-9. No experience is necessary, and all supplies and instruction will be provided.

More information is available at