To make this Thanksgiving holiday week special for Meals on Wheels recipients, more than 400 residents received a handmade placemat with their lunch. The gift was hand-sewed by women from the Binding Circle at the Ellis County Cowboy Church.

This is the third year for the Binding Circle to contribute the placemats to Meals on Wheels. Gale Bumpus, who serves as the team leader for the group, has been an active member since it was established in 2009.

And it was Bumpus’ connection with Meals on Wheels that initially spawned the idea for the gifts.

“What really gave us the idea, well my mother-in-law received Meals on Wheels for several years, and that was the reason she could stay in her home as long as she did,” Bumpus added, “She was 97 when we had to take her out of the home. She received Meals on Wheels for about four to five years. I feel like Meals on Wheels is a huge service for our population.”

The materials for the placemats were either donated or made from scraps of other projects. The women have been collecting fabric and sewing the 17-by-12-inch placemats since the beginning of the year.

The Binding Circle’s purpose is to “provide stitched items of comfort to children, elders and victims of disaster… We want to touch the lives of those in need of physical as well as spiritual comfort,” according to their pamphlet.

Bumpus said, “It’s a neat experience to share what we do with other people, and hopefully they’ll get some joy out of what we’ve done.”

With each placemat, a simple letter was attached wishing happy holidays and a word from the lord.

Lisa Deese, community relations specialist with Meals on Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties, said she got out of the office on Nov. 20 to deliver meals along with the placemats. Deese saw first hand the joy on her client’s faces.

“It’s so wonderful to see the lights in their eyes when they see that someone thinks about them. A lot of times our seniors are forgotten and this is a little token of love,” Deese said.

She said most of the clients’ reactions were of surprise. Even though it was a holiday week, they weren’t expecting to receive a thoughtful present. She said these women’s work is “truly a gift.”

Not only was the Binding Club able to share the love with the Ellis County community, but they reached to clients in Venus and Alvarado too.

“It was so heartwarming and just the joy. It was so great to see the smiles shining brightly thinking, ‘someone thought of me,'” Deese said.

Not only did the placemats serve the purpose of a place setting, but for one Red Oak resident, it was a necessity in his life.

While out delivering meals with US Rep. Joe Barton a few years prior, Deese recalled visiting an elderly, blind gentleman. When the gentlemen referenced where to set his dinner, he said for it to go on his placemat. He then mentioned that someone sewed it for him.

Deese said it was the same placemat from the year before that the Binding Circle had contributed.

Deese thanked the women of the Binding Circle saying, “We are a community service organization, and it takes a community to love one another. This is just one small, little piece of what happens every day. We have so many wonderful groups that partner with us to love our seniors.”