Charity quilting is one way to put your talents to use and create beautiful quilts for those who need them.
Spreading the Love
For as long as women have been quilting, there have been people and organizations willing to accept their finished products. Through the increasing ease of the Internet and building Web pages, charity quilting is becoming increasingly popular as more quilters are being matched with groups that need keepsake blankets.
Charity quilts can be made by one person or by a groups where each quilter handles a different task. Homeless families, abused children and hospitalized babies are just a few of the recipients of these handmade items.
Quilts of Valor Foundation
This group's goal is simple -- to blanket each physically and psychologically wounded and injured soldier who served in the War on Terrorism. The Quilts of Valor Foundation was founded by Catherine Roberts, a Delaware quilter who contacted a U.S. Army major because she wanted to sew a blue-and-white Ohio Star quilt and donate it to a wounded serviceperson. Soon, she envisioned every injured soldier waking up wrapped in a homemade quilt. After her first quilt was finished, Roberts put out the word that these blankets were needed quickly. Soon, hundreds of quilts were distributed through chaplains to about 70 U.S. military medical centers. As of April 2007, almost 10,000 quilts had been given to injured soldiers. The group's second mission is to teach children to sew as a way of helping them become civically involved through volunteering.
On Christmas Eve 1995, an article in Parade magazine inspired Karen Loucks Rinedollar to provide homemade security blankets to the Denver Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center. The article, Joy to the World, included a photo of a young cancer patient clinging to her blanket during a chemotherapy treatment. The reporter wrote that the child's security blanket helped calm the youngster during those sessions. It was on that day, through that first donation, that Project Linus was born. This non-profit group donates quilts and blankets to children and adults everywhere. Dozens of their homemade quilts were given to teens at Columbine High School following the shootings there in 1999. Blankets have been made and given to children whose parents were killed in Iraq or to those who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. As of December 2006, more than 1.9 million blankets and quilts have been donated. Worldwide, Project Linus has almost 400 chapters.
Quilt for a Cure
When Bonnie Stratton's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during the 1990s, she knew very little about the disease, but she knew she needed to do something. Soon, the answer became clear. Within a few years, she began designing the Quilt for a Cure fabric collections -- material designed especially for quilts. A portion of each yard of this special fabric goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Each bolt carries information about breast cancer and each collection carries the Quilt for a Cure logo (a pink ribbon stitched into a loop). Some of her collections include The Healing Garden, Fine China Blue and Peace in Plenty.
McCall's Quilting magazine publishes an annual Quilt for a Cure pattern with a quilt made with one of Stratton's fabrics on the cover.
More Charity Quilting Projects
There are many smaller organizations who benefit by charity quilting by either making or receiving the blankets. Some of those include:
- Binky Patrol is a group who makes quilts for children and teens who have been sexually or physically abused.
- Hugs for Homeless Animals accepts quilts for animals in shelters.
- Wrap Them in Love collects new and used quilts and distributes them to needy children worldwide.
- Tiny Miracles accepts donated quilts and fabric for them to make quilts for babies in various neonatal intensive care units.
How to Get Involved
For starters, you don't need to be an expert quilter to volunteer for charity quilting. Many of these organizations need fabric, thread and other quilting supplies to create their quilts. They also need individuals or families to help distribute the quilts. Monetary donations are accepted as well. Check with the organization either by calling or through its online forum to find out what is in demand..