In September of 2005, 200 women gathered at the Salem Convention Center in Salem, Oregon to create '200 quilts in two days' for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Members of the Salem community donated fabric, thread, batting and quilting items as their part in contributing to the disaster relief movement. The goal was reached.
200 quilts were created in just two days by 200 women. They were hand delivered in by members of the Salem community to Hurricane Katrina survivors by Christmas.
Some of the members of that original group wanted to keep quilting and to continue to make, and donate quilts. This smaller group moved to Salem First Baptist Church in downtown Salem, Oregon. Even though we are members of different belief systems and differing faiths, we have joined together and created our own group, Salem Community Quilters, under the generous roof of this church, which has gone to add additional church members and a quilting ministry for community outreach.
We are blessed to have amongst us, a lovely and giving group of women, and now, one man :) who have selflessly given and donated from their own stash, pocketbooks and hearts on an ongoing basis, some of us for many, years now! It is this community spirit that means the most to all of us...as quilters...and as volunteers.
Our ongoing group of quilters create tables and chairs filled with quilts that we have either created ourselves or had donated by others who also sew at home. These quilts are sent out on various church missions all over the United States as well as to other charitable groups and causes.
They have been sent to the survivors of the hurricane damaged areas of the U.S. for both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to Habitat for Humanity homes, to members of Inter-Faith Ministries, to the Red Cross, and the Union Gospel Mission (which supports the homeless, here in Salem.)We have also sent quilts to AIDS babies, to forest fire victims in California, and to wounded soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as WWII Veterans that we have been privileged to meet or to attend the funerals of.
When our group members travel, they often carry a few of our quilts along with them and have a great deal of fun dropping them off at quilt shops or centers for varying causes. Recently, we made and sent neo-natal preemie quilts to a AZBlankets for Kids, similar to Project Linus. We have also sent preemie quilts for newborns and comfort quilts for those with terminal illnesses to our own Salem Memorial Hospital.
Our patriotic 'quilts of valor' have been hand delivered to the "Veterans' Outreach Center" in Salem, Oregon and sent with group members, as well as with a general's daughter, to the Madigan Army Medical Center Hospital, located at Fort Lewis, in Tacoma, Washington. There, they are immediately given to wounded soldiers as they arrive at the hospital. When a soldier is injured as a result of the war in either Iraq or Afghanistan, he receives a purple honor for bravery. Our quilts created in patriotic colors and fabrics, have a label showing a purple heart on the back to honor their loyalty, courage and service.
All of our quilts are made with love... and all are lovingly labeled and sent out on their missions of creating heartstrings between our Salem Community Quilters and members of our larger community, everywhere!
Check out my on-going blog:
With Heart and Hands
And my patriotic quilting blog at Patriotic Heartstrings