Timothy Meade has started a project to help a group of people in crisis.The 15-year-old junior at Weddington High School has created the Pillow Project, which provides new pillows with decorated cases to every person who enters Turning Point, a shelter in Monroe for victims of domestic abuse.Turning Point offers counseling and support that includes practical items to those who often arrive with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. “Turning Point was started by members of our congregation, St. Paul’s Episcopal in Monroe. I’ve always been aware of the organization, but when I got older and was looking for a way to help the community, it seemed like a natural choice,” said Timothy, who’s known as “Timmy.” Timmy contacted Turning Point Volunteer Coordinator Christi Phillips, who sent him a list of items the organization needed. Included on the wish list were new pillows and bed linens for each client.The pillows caught Timmy’s attention.“I wanted to do something a little different than a straightforward donation. I wanted to add something personal to it,” he said. “These women and children were going through such a difficult time, I thought that a decorated pillow might provide a small amount of comfort to them.”Timmy approached several businesses for donations, including Pediatric Dentistry of Matthews, where his mother, Dr. Margaret Lochary, is a partner. The group donated enough money to purchase 80 pillows and cases.Timmy searched local hobby stores for supplies, bought some fabric markers and created a test pillowcase that he washed several times to make sure the drawings stayed put. Once he got the process streamlined, he tapped the artistic talents of his mother’s patients and set up shop in the practice for a few days.“We put up a table in the office and invited the kids to decorate the cases while they were waiting. I am not a big artist, but I made a few samples for them. Fortunately, theirs were much better than mine,” Timmy said. “It also added a little excitement to their waiting room experience. They were so enthusiastic that they decorated all 80 cases in just one week.” Once the cases were finished, Timmy and his mother loaded them and the pillows into their horse trailer and took them to Turning Point. Phillips said the pillows are touching the lives of Turning Point clients. “Timmy is changing his world by providing such a personal gift to our clients. They know that there is someone out there that cares,” Phillips said. Later this summer, Timmy will oversee the Pillow Project at St. Paul’s vacation Bible school.And he’s not finished; Phillips says Turning Point uses about 300 pillows and cases each year, and Timmy said he would like to provide them a year’s supply. He said the experience has taught him several things about society and himself. He’s also learned that little acts of kindness can make a big difference.“It’s great to know that something as simple as a pillowcase can make someone smile,” Timmy said.“The Pillow Project has made me aware of what a problem domestic violence is in our community and how important organizations like Turning Point are, and I’ve also gained a little perspective into how very fortunate I am.”
Friday, Jun. 28, 2013
Pillow Project offers comfort at Monroe shelter
Want to help? A new pillow and pillowcase costs $9.20. To help fund the Pillow Project, write “Pillow Project” on the memo line of a check and send tax deductible donations to Turning Point, P.O. Box 952, Monroe, NC 28111. For information about Turning Point, visit www.unioncountyturningpoint.org.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at email@example.com.
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