By Mike Boff and Rev. Wes Shields

The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Bat Cave, NC is making a difference in the communities they serve, as well as people struggling with the basic needs of living around the world.

Haitian students with their certificates having completed a course in hygiene taught by Laura Shields and Kathy Boff.

Haitian students with their certificates having completed a course in hygiene taught by Laura Shields and Kathy Boff.

Unfortunately, many who live in the mountains of our area rely on wood as their source of heat throughout the winter.  For them it’s not as easy as dialing up the thermostat.  Instead the arduous process of cutting, splitting, and hauling wood is a necessity to stay warm.  Some families no longer have the physical ability to do these things.  Health and age have caused many families to suffer without.  The churches’ firewood ministry has made a huge difference in the lives of many of our local mountain people.

Church members meet once a week to cut unwanted, typically already downed trees, for people and then distribute the wood to those in need.  In a little over a year, the church has cut and is in the process of delivering 25 cords of wood.  That is enough to fill a 20 by 20 ft. room from floor to ceiling.  The ministry is funded by the church and relies on volunteers that gather once a week to do the work.  There is a need for individuals to run a chainsaw, but also individuals to operate the splitter as well as deliver firewood.  No experience is needed.  The church members are happy to teach anyone interested in making a difference.

Barbara Maldin, standing, Sylvia Marian, seated and Amy Spanjers, seated in background organize supplies for the Haiti mission.

Barbara Maldin, standing, Sylvia Marian, seated and Amy Spanjers, seated in
background organize supplies for the Haiti mission.

Another active ministry of the church is headed by a group of women that calls themselves Bare Necessities.  These are women that meet on the first Wednesday afternoon of the month from 3 to 7 pm to make reusable disposable feminine hygiene products for women and children from around the world.  Both products are handmade by the group and assembled into kits.  The diapers save young mothers and orphanages thousands of dollars on disposable diapers as well as serve as an alternative to no diapers at all.  The feminine hygiene products allow young girls to go to school in places where they would otherwise have to stay home for at least one week a month.  Their products are now on four continents and have gone to countries such as Haiti, Uganda, Thailand, Nicaragua, and others.  The retail value of the products that they have sent out over the past year is somewhere between $15,000 to $20,000.  Parishoners, Kathy Boff and Laura Shields, carried those products to Haiti themselves last January taking about 60 kits and other loose diapers and wipes.  They took a donated sewing machine to leave in Haiti and material to teach locals how to make their own diapers and wipes. The ministry is funded by the church and through donations of money and materials from people all over WNC.  10_IMG_3291

The church and its members believe love and generosity is something to be shared and are trying to do that with individuals locally and from around the world.  Please contact wes@ectransfiguration.org if you are interested in participating or have any questions about these ministries.