A warm quilt for Christmas
Hundreds of less fortunate people in the Pennsylvania area are warm this winter, thanks to some early Christmas presents created with love by quilters gathered by a UCC congregation’s “Quilt-A-Thon.”
Think of it as an early Christmas present — with every quilt stitched together at New Creation United Church of Christ, another person in need will be kept warm this winter.
Ahead of the Advent season, full of the spirit of giving, 68 volunteers worked together to complete 253 full-size, warm but “Simple Quilts”, made from 100 percent recycled materials during a “Quilt-a-Thon for the Homeless” involving the Palmer, Penn., congregation.
As Marjorie Paul put it, “Love and laughter filled the rooms as men, women and youths joyfully worked together to help those less fortunate,” said the New Creation member and one of the quilters.
“Usually, the Simple Quilts group meets Tuesday mornings at New Creation,” Paul said. “Our New Creation group numbers at least a dozen solid volunteers. We create quilts using donations of sheets, blankets, unused fabrics, even curtains, tablecloths — any fabrics that were destined for landfills. In eight years we have never come close to running out of fabrics to use.”
But this year, the quilters were gifted with a lot more material and decided that a marathon sewing session was in order. The Nov. 7 Quilt-a-Thon was planned in response to what Paul calls “a tsunami of donations” from a local hotel. Half the volunteers that day were members of the congregation, and the other half were community friends.
“Last December [the hotel] decided to change their bed skirts and offered us the old ones — about 500 of them. Then, in June they changed their mattress covers. At the same time we received over 200 blankets and mattress covers from Moravian College,” she said.
“This was all in addition to over 1,000 sheets from the hotel,” Paul said. “We have a ‘sister’ group at United Presbyterian Church of Belvidere, N.J., led by Ann Rogers that meets Monday mornings. Ann dyes many of these sheets and we use them as backs for our full size ‘soft’ quilts. The bed skirts were used as backs for our ‘heavy-duty’ quilts.”
“There was no way we could have used up all [the fabric] in our week-to-week meetings, and with winter coming and so many potential, warm, full-sized quilts, we decided to hold the ‘Quilt-a-thon’ and get others to help us finish,” Paul said. “Since June, we were putting together about 20 full-size winter-weight quilts each week. We’d do what we could Tuesday morning and then squirrel them away — in all stages of completion — for [the Quilt-a-Thon in November]. That’s how we had so many ready to go.”
The quilts were given to local agencies in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, and then distributed to people in need before the colder temperatures arrived. Thirty quilts each were given to Safe Harbor, Cornerstone Church’s Riverside Ministries, Victory House and Hope for Veterans in Pennsylvania; 42 were sent to Moravian Open Door homeless shelter in New York City; 91 went to the poorest of the poor to Abundant Life Ministries in West Virginia.
Now that the holidays are here, the Simple Quilts group is resting up after all that hard work gathering materials and stitching quilts, taking some time to rejuvenate and will re-gather in January.
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