Douglas County children in need will have a soft place to rest their heads this holiday season. The congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lake Nebagamon is providing Pillows for Peace to children whose families are experiencing hardship.
The church's quilt group teamed up with members of all ages to sew 100 pillowcases in a rainbow of patterns.
"Some 11-year-olds were sewing," said Jenny Pichler, who launched the Pillows for Peace project. "We had Sunday school kids, confirmation kids, seniors."
Quilt group members provided the material, and donations were taken to purchase 100 pillows to stuff into the cases. Members of the church's youth group tackled the job Wednesday. The air was filled with flying pillows encased in bright colors and patterns.
"Mc-incoming," they called, launching the soft missiles across the room.
The stack of pillows grew so tall it nearly fell over at one point.
Pichler was inspired by a silent auction item, a pillowcase.
"I think that a lot of people, they take for granted things they use every day," Pichler said. "A pillow may be something they don't have."
The pillows offer these children something to hug, something to encourage a good night's sleep.
"They're cozy to the heart," Pichler said.
The pillows will be handed out to 100 children in the Maple School District as part of the annual Kids in Nebagamon (KIN) holiday project. This year, 50 families in crisis will receive a food baskets and gifts through the program.
The nonprofit KIN helps families in the school district year round, but the Christmas giving has special meaning.
"There's so many families in need around the whole area," said Northwestern High School senior Tyler Davis. "This is supposed to be a joyful time of year."
On Sunday, he and other youth group members went shopping for 22 children.
"We got toys and clothes and shoes, like body care products," said sophomore Holly Klomhaus. "It's always a lot of fun."
Senior Zach Grohn has been taking part in the KIN shop for four years. He said it was interesting to see items most people take for granted, like boots, on the kids' wish lists.
"I've really enjoyed this," he said. "I feel it's much more important to give than to get and it just touches a lot of kids."
It costs about $10,000 a year to provide food and gifts to these families, who are identified through area schools and churches. Donations of nonperishable food items, new winter gear, new unwrapped toys, money, gift cards and gas cards are accepted through Dec. 19 at three Lake Nebagamon sites — the Waterfront Restaurant, Chippewa Bank and the Dockside Bar and Restaurant.
Northwestern High School launched a KIN donation drive Monday, fueled by the student council and freshman class. New unwrapped toys and monetary checks to KIN will be accepted at the high school office through Dec. 15. Students who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the boys' basketball game against Spooner on Dec. 14 get free admission.