Thursday, December 8, 2016
1,000 quilts for kids
This is a satisfying, grass-roots kind of story. Some members at a Kaw Valley Quilters Guild meeting several years ago were bemoaning the piles of quilts they were storing at home. They had volunteered to collect quilts made for kids in the Headstart program at the church where we meet. Headstart needed 40 that year but guild members had produced 80+ quilts.
I proposed expanding the program so that quilts went right to kids throughout our community instead of taking up room in someone's house. The guild board agreed.
Need came knocking. First we gave quilts to First Step, a local alcohol recovery residential program that allows moms to bring their kids along. Their nursery, at the north end of the building, got chilly in the winter. The kids only had fleece blankets so a thoughtful college student working there asked her quilter mom where they could get quilts and her mom asked me. It was Christmas time and our stitch group quickly produced the quilts they requested for Christmas, 2010.
Guild members stepped up to help. They made 74 the first year (2011), 148 the next year and the numbers have increased ever since. In 2015 they made 245 quilts and I challenged them to make 265 this year so we could say we've reached the milestone of 1,000 quilts for kids.
They did it. A true point of pride is that members donate the materials themselves. From time to time there are donations of fabric and batting, but most of the materials come from members' own sewing rooms.
Quilts have gone to the Lawrence Homeless Shelter; Pieces for Pediatrics (Marla Welch's program to supply a quilt to every pediatric patient at Lawrence Memorial Hospital); First Step at DCCCA; Family Promise; Headstart; GaDuGi (now the Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center); The Willow Domestic Violence Center; CASA of Douglas County; the local Oxford House; Kennedy School Preschool: and Cordley Elementary School.
I'm stepping back from the program to let someone else have the fun of collecting and delivering the quilts. Guild members have responded magnanimously to support this program. The goal has been to get quilts to local kids who need them every month. We have succeeded!
Every kind of kids quilt is welcome. We ask that they be sturdy enough to be washed frequently. We accept all sizes as the recipients range from newborn to age 18.