Hi everyone! It’s Michele here for today’s Learning Center post on Charity Quilting. Quilters never cease to amaze me on their generosity and good will to help out others in need. When a natural disaster happens, quilters are first to step-up and help out in the best way they can by making quilts of comfort. Back in 2008, I ran a month-long series here on the Quilting Gallery about charity quilting. Since then I’ve continued to help promote various charity quilting events as they become known to me.
For today’s post, I asked four organizations/groups to share information about their charity: Bumble Beans BASICS, Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative, The Linus Connection and Quilts of Valor. Recently I came into contact with Kristy from Hopeful Threads and also asked her to share her story with us … I think you’ll be inspired. Thanks so much to today’s guests!
Bumble Beans BASICS
Victoria Findlay Wolfe owner of Bumblebeans, Inc. started an amazing quilt drive for BASICS, (Acacia Network) a non-profit organization in the Bronx, NYC that takes homeless families and gets them into transitional housing and back on track in their daily lives.
Her initial interest in finding a good home for a few of her extra quilts ultimately grew into a global effort when she asked the head of Basics (Acacia Network) if he could use a few quilts, and he responded, “Do you have 700?” one for each of the families on the waiting list for housing in the NYC area. Currently The South Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the U.S.
“When Mr. Russi asked for 700, I couldn’t ignore the fact that people needed quilts. Knowing my own quilt habits, I knew most quilters make more than they need so I put the call for help out on my blog and we are now reaching 600 quilts,” said Victoria Findlay Wolfe. “I won’t stop til everyone on that huge waiting list has a quilt. If you have a quilt on all of your own beds, it’s time to cover a stranger’s bed.”
“Every few months they put together Quilt Distribution Event where the quilts are handed out to the families or different building units, and the Quiltmaker’s name is read out loud. It’s a very personal and emotional day.” said Victoria, “We are VERY THANKFUL for all the quilts we have received. The families that receive these quilts are very THANKFUL for your generosity. We attempt to take pictures of all the quilts that get handed out, as long as the receiver is comfortable with that. It’s often a humbling experience to ask for help, so this is not always possible. But the words THANK YOU ring loud and clear in our ears.”
Pictures of the events are posted at the Bumble Beans BASICS Flickr group.
Bumble Beans BASICS accepts all sizes of quilts, from small baby quilts to larger than King size quilts! Big families need big quilts! Please send any size you can spare!
To get involved, Please visit: http://bumblebeansbasics.com/. Quilt questions can be sent to Victoria Findlay Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative
The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for Alzheimer’s research by selling small (9″ x 12″) donated quilts. It is a national charity, powered by quilters, founded by quilt teacher Ami Simms. Located in Burton, Michigan, it has been active since 2006 and has funded 11 research projects to date with grants ranging from $10,000 to $60,000.
Your help is needed to buy and make small format art quilts to help the AAQI fund future research.
The AAQI also sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer’s called “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope”. It is comprised of 182 “Name Quilts” which hold the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have/had Alzheimer’s and represent the 5 million Americans who are suffering with this degenerative brain disease. Hanging among the names are small format art quilts which illustrate Alzheimer’s.
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive and degenerative brain disease that kills brain cells. People with Alzheimer’s lose their memories, life skills, the ability to reason, to learn, and eventually to take care of themselves. It is always fatal unless another disease takes one’s life first.
Quilters across the United States are threading their needles and opening their wallets in the hopes of bringing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease one stitch closer. More than 10,000 quilts have been donated so far. All profits fund Alzheimer’s research.
The AAQI is a grassroots, Internet-driven, all-volunteer charity. In addition to monthly auctions and online quilts sales 24/7, each year it brings quilts more than 1,000 quilts to sell at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.
The Linus Connection
by: Jennifer Ofenstein, Current Board Member and Volunteer since 2002
Description of the organization
The Linus Connection is a Central Texas 501(c)(3) organization based out of Austin, Texas comprised entirely of volunteers whose mission is to make and deliver handmade security blankets for children in crisis situations in our area. Blankets can be quilted, crocheted, knitted or fleece as long as they are handmade with love. These blankets go to children in hospital emergency rooms, in crisis centers, in foster care, shelters, and grief camps. In other words, to children in need of a little extra security and comfort in their lives.
Goals and/or significant milestones
Each year, The Linus Connection and our volunteers pledge ourselves to creating and distributing 5,000 handmade blankets to children in need throughout Central Texas. In 2009, we celebrated our tenth anniversary of making and donating blankets. We have distributed approximately 45,000 handmade blankets since 1999.
How can quilters get involved?
If you want to help out, make and donate a blanket! The Linus Connection accepts completed quilts, quilt tops and yarn blankets. Before donating a blanket, please see the full list of blanket specifications. If you live locally, please consider joining us for our monthly meeting. The Linus Connection meets the third Saturday of each month at St. Phillips in Round Rock, Texas.
If you would like to help, but only have time to make a single block or two, please consider Stars For Linus, organized by my own blog, Sewhooked. I collect single 12 1/2″ star blocks with sashing that are pieced into quilts for The Linus Connection. Previous Stars For Linus quilts were donated to families affected by the Central Texas wildfires in 2011.
What other donations can you use?
Blanket supplies are always appreciated: 100% cotton quilting fabric, low-loft cotton batting and soft acrylic yarn are especially useful.
Also very much appreciated are gift cards to JoAnn’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or other stores that sell fabric and yarn. We also accept monetary donations, which are spent exclusively on supplies, through Network For Good.
All donations can be sent to:
The Linus Connection
P.O. Box 29491
Austin, Texas 78755
For lots of photos of our volunteers in action, visit our web site and check out our monthly Show & Tell posts!
Still have questions? Please feel free to contact us for more information!
Quilts of Valor
The Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) began in 2003 when quilter Catherine Roberts’ son was deployed in Iraq. Catherine, remembering the unwelcoming reception experienced by many Vietnam War veterans, wanted the next generation of returning warriors to be received differently. She envisioned a soldier awake in the night struggling with war demons, but surrounded by a comforting quilt.
Responding to her vision, Catherine made a quilt and gave it to a soldier. Soon, others were doing the same, and eventually a fully-functioning 501C-3 not-for-profit foundation was formed.
As of December 31, 2011, more than 60,000 Quilts of Valor (QOVs) have been awarded, not just to combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but to service members from all branches and all US conflicts who have been touched by war.
When the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo invited the Quilts of Valor Foundation to supply a group of Quilts of Valor to travel to its 2012 events, QOVF Director June Moore sent an email blast to the nationwide Quilts of Valor community asking for submissions. Within a few days, June received over 100 replies.
In 2011, nine fabric companies participated in the American Valor Fabrics project, each creating a collection of patriotic fabrics designed specifically for QOVs. Each company designed a quilt to utilize their fabrics, and you will see several of these patterns represented. The participating companies are Andover, Clothworks, Marcus, Moda, P&B, Red Rooster, Quilting Treasures, Timeless Treasures, and Windham.
Also in 2011, Quilts of Valor Foundation launched a program called “Under Our Wings”, which invites capable quilters, “Coaches”, to take non-quilters, “Rookies”, under their wings. Quilt shops all over the US are Official Under Our Wings shops.
Moda Fabrics, one of the American Valor Fabrics project participants, invited quilters nationwide via an ad campaign to make “just one star”, a simple block for a Quilt of Valor. Hoping for 1800 so the Moda staff could make 100 quilts in 100 days, instead Moda received over 15,000 blocks. Many of the “extras” were donated to the QOVF community, and you’ll see several “Moda star” quilts in this show.
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo has underwritten all costs of this exhibit and has provided free booth space for use by local and regional Quilts of Valor Volunteers to educate show-goers about National Service via quilt making. At the conclusion of this tour these quilts will be awarded to combat veterans.
How you can help:
- Basic Requirements
- Find participating shops and groups in your state or internationally
- Volunteer as a Machine Quilter
For more information about Quilts of Valor, please visit http://www.qovf.org/index.html.
Hi Quilting Gallery Friends! I’m Kristy from Hopeful Threads and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share a little about myself and my love of sewing with you! Sewing isn’t “just” my craft or hobby, no, it’s as much a part of me as my blue eyes and turning white hair! And like both my eyes and hair, sewing has come to me from a long line of crafty genes. The women in my family create with their hands. Quilting, doll making, crocheting, sewing, art with needle and thread has always been a part of my life.
While I dabbled at times with different things, it wasn’t until I had little girls of my own that I became interested enough to want a sewing machine and really take the time to learn how to create with it. Since their first little matching outfits I have experienced great joy sitting at my machine and being amazed by the fact that I can send cut up pieces of fabric through one side and have them come out the other side something that can be worn or used! It’s absolute MAGIC!
While I’ve sewn for fun for years, it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that it really began to evolve into a significant part of my life. I was a stay-at-home mama who had just welcomed my 4th little bundle. I had decided to cloth diaper him and had gradually started buying some diapers, including some handmade by other mamas. I had the crazy thought…..come on, you’ve had it before too!…..that “I could make that!”….and so, I did. I began sewing diapers for my little man, my friends and a cloth diaper charity organization.
While doing so, I was also following the adoption process of a very close friend whose son was in China waiting for her. She would share stories of other traveling families and their visits to the orphanages, and one day, she shared about a particularly poor orphanage. She shared pictures that gripped my heart and were forever etched there. Moved, I prayed for a tangible way to help these children that were so far away, thinking to myself how could it ever be possible.
Very soon after my friend received a list of much needed items for one of the orphanages and guess what just happened to be one of the top items…..cloth diapers. I think my heart may have actually leaped that day! And so as the story goes, my first significant sewn donation was a massive box of cloth diapers and baby care accessories that traveled later that year with my sweet friend when she went to pick up her son. Our family was so inspired by the experience, that we continued to look for similar opportunities and have since sent countless handmade items to those in need in the US, China, Guatemala, Cambodia, Haiti, Ghana and more!
Now, like many a lady in love with her sewing machine, I can get lost in my little thread covered haven and joyfully sew for hours. I love it! But what’s even more fun is having the opportunity to share that with others who are like minded. I started having occasional local sewing events to help fulfil larger donation requests, but in looking for a way to expand the outreach and community even more, I began my charity focused sewing blog, Hopeful Threads, in January 2011.
I can’t adequately express how blown away I have been by the generosity and desire to help within the online crafting community! It is an amazing and unique group of people, worldwide, that I am very blessed and humbled to be a part of! I have built some of the warmest and most meaningful friendships in the past year and together, we have made a beautiful contribution to the needs of others through using our love and skills of sewing! We have sewn and donated numerous pillowcases, soft toys, baby bibs, diaper covers, cloth pads and dresses for little girls just to name a few. To be able to do something you love doing and use it to help another…..well, there isn’t much better in my book!
Each month at Hopeful Threads we focus on a different project that we can sew to fulfil a specific need. Many times I will simply offer ideas and encouragement for you to donate your handmade items within your local communities, while other times we will collectively work as a group toward one goal. I have had a heart for children since I was a child myself my mama tells me, and being a mama to 5 littles of my own now, many of the projects lean in the direction of providing for children in need. I would love to invite each of you to stop by Hopeful Threads, take a little bit to look around and learn more about what we’re all about. And, if you feel like it’s something you’d like to be a part of too, we’d love to have you join us!
Next month’s theme will be “Care 4 Caregivers”….with Mother’s Day and all, I thought it would be appropriate for us to look for those who are providing care for others that often get overlooked. Information will be posted on the web site next week. I hope you’ll join us.
Every Stitch Matters,
What about you? Do you do any charity quilting?
If you’re a charity quilting group or organization and want to be featured on the Quilting Gallery, I encourage you to send me an email about being a guest blogger.