Do you have any baby sized quilts or quilt tops lying around? Do you have the desire to make a baby quilt for a worthy cause? Please consider contributing to an important charitable effort:
I have been contacted by a good friend of mine, Kim Andreasan, regarding her efforts to collect 50 baby quilts to donate as part of a "diaper bag" initiative to help refugees in the New England area. Kim and I attended the same LDS ward (congregation) in Billerica for the seven years I lived in Massachusetts and she has some responsibility for a big service project taking place on September 9, 2017. The women of the LDS North Shore stake (larger organization of multiple LDS wards) is joining together to put together 50 diaper bags filled with infant essentials, including a handmade baby quilt. These items are to be donated to the International Institute of New England, IINE, an organization with Lowell and Boston branches. Their mission statement is:
The mission of the International Institute of New England is to invest in the future of our cities and towns by preparing refugees and immigrants for participation in the social, economic and political richness of American life through active citizenship.
Kim explained that most clients of IINE, ".....are women and children. Two out of every ten women are pregnant when they arrive here or in the camps. By providing bags/baby quilts, we hope to give them something to help them adjust to this society and know their babies are welcomed and cared about."
Kim thought I might think it was strange for her to contact me when I am all the way in Colorado. Of course I don't mind at all and I am confident that quilters tend to be generous and don't allow the "hassle" of sending a quilt in the mail when it comes to a worthy cause.
I feel excited about this project because I still love New England and my friends back there and it combines two of my long-held interests: sewing and humanitarian outreach. My educational background is social work and as a young adult, I spent quite a bit of time abroad doing international volunteer work. I don't pretend to be an expert, but I have witnessed a lot of tragedy and suffering and I miss those days when I lost myself in serving wherever I was needed. Assisting refugees stateside is definitely a great way to reach out and serve when it is no longer practical for me to be an international volunteer.
An advantageous aspect of this project is that there are no strict guidelines about size, colors, and materials for donating a quilt. I can offer some of my own to help give some direction:
- 40" square is a great sized baby quilt, it's been my preferred size for my own babies and it's small enough to quilt on your domestic machine without too much hassle. Bigger or smaller is okay but don't go TOO big.
- Gender neutral themes would be appreciated in interest of simplicity in giving out the quilts but it's not mandatory. If you have something already made or nearly made- that's fine.
- Machine binding would be helpful in prolonging the life of the quilts. Machine quilting as opposed to tying would also prolong the life of the quilt.
If you'd like to donate a quilt, Kim has asked that you send it to her by late August. She would like some time to inventory and organize the donations. Please message me and I can give you her mailing address for sending the quilt. If paying for postage is an issue, it can be worked out, just contact me.
If you are local to me, I can collect the quilt from you and get it to Kim myself. If you are really ready to donate, let me know as soon as possible, as my parents are visiting in June and they can take quilts back to Kim for me.
Thanks for reading this long post and for considering contributing to this cause. I will admit that I don't do a lot of "charitable quilting" for a variety of reasons (mostly time!) but I will commit here to make at least one quilt to donate. Will you join me?
(I didn't want to have a picture-less post, so the pictures in here show a gender neutral quilt-the rainbow log cabin- and 3 quilt tops I bought at a yard sale recently. These tops are too big to be baby quilts but my intention in including them in this post was to help you think of what tops you might have lying around that could be used for this cause).