Many of us have memories of cutting out paper hearts around Valentine’s Day —an effort to send our love to someone else through a physical item and loving effort.
For a Baytown woman, cutting out and making hearts to give away still serves as a way to send love, not to would-be sweethearts, but to people facing difficult times.
Peggy Jeffcoat, 88, said she started making her plush fabric hearts about three years ago while staying with her daughter after a stroke.
“The Lord opened doors,” Jeffcoat said. “She found this place that was needing help for the children that were in the hospital that couldn’t go home with cancer, so we started out and we made 700 that we sent out there.”
When she returned home to Baytown, Jeffcoat dug in to the storage boxes in her craft room for fabric and started making hearts.
Now, about 3,000 to 5,000 hearts later, she’s still doing it.
Opportunities to share the hearts come from a lot of directions—mostly through her daughter, son-in-law and her church, Cedar Bayou Baptist. She also provides hearts for the home health care service she uses to give to other patients in their health care and hospice programs.
Since then, she has branched out, also making blankets for both infants and children. A niece and her husband take some of those on their frequent trips to Africa for use in ministries there.
Others she makes for Project Linus, a national organization that provides blankets for children and teens in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies or anywhere a child may be inn need of a warm hug.
She also took part in a church project to make washable sanitary pads that help young women in some parts of the world be able to stay in school rather than being confined to their homes.
Through her sewing, Jeffcoat believes God has provided a way to be in ministry to others in spite of limited ability to travel and move around.
Also, she said, it helps her in dealing with chronic pain she has experienced for many years.
“I can sew with the sewing machine and it distracts my mind from the pain,” she said. “If I could teach this to other people it would be a tremendous thing, but most people would rather pop a pill.”
A church friend, Kathy Zeglin, brought Jeffcoat to the Sun’s attention. Zeglin said Jeffcoat also sends out dozens of cards each week, sending love and encouragement. Most recently, of course, the Valentine’s cards went out. It is, after all, the season for sending love.