November 2, 2011

Offering comfort to hurting children

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

What started as a thought, has grown into a statewide mission of compassion. And the Watford City Assembly of God Church feels even more compelled to provide a small degree of comfort to hundreds of North Dakota youth who are victims of abuse through Project Night-Light.
Last year, Pastor Sheldon McGorman of the Watford City Assembly of God Church challenged his congregation to make 400 blankets for Project Night-Light. And what a turnout they had.
Many members of the congregation spent their Saturday cutting fleece for the blankets. Then others spent their Sunday tying the blankets together. And McGorman has the same plans and hopes for this year’s event, only more so.
“All of the blankets we made and donated last year have already been given out,” McGorman states. “So this year we have committed to making 500 blankets for the organization.”
The fleece blankets being donated are just one part of a ‘bag of hope’ given to abused and neglected children all over the state.
Project Night-Light is a faith based organization that provides children with a ‘bag of hope’ that contains items needed when being examined at local Children’s Advocacy Centers around the United States for sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect.
According to Project Night-Light’s website, what makes these blankets and the bags so important is that children suffering abuse or neglect are left feeling insecure and unsure of themselves and the people around them.
Project Night-Light strives to give these young victims a piece of security.
Not only does the abuse and neglect traumatize a child, but the process of undergoing tests for sexual abuse, abuse or neglect is almost as horrifying.
“Oftentimes the children’s clothes are kept for evidence and they are left with a hospital gown or sheet to cover themselves with,” states McGorman.
The bags are meant to provide a sense of dignity to the children and let them know they are loved and they have hope.
The bags contain a fleece tie blanket, pajamas, socks, underwear, shampoo and conditioner, a toothbrush and toothpaste, fruit snacks, a water bottle, flashlight, a book entitled, “You Are Special” by Max Lucado, and a Zipper Tote Bag to hold all their new special items. Teen girl bags also include deodorant and a personal journal.
The bags are allocated to hospitals ahead of time, for the centers to keep on reserve. To date, 2,245 bags have been distributed since 2008.