Church Quilters Send Comfort Where It’s Needed
Quilts made by a congregation in Ormond Beach provide comfort and more to area residents and people around the world.
As part of the national organization Lutheran World Relief, members of Grace Lutheran Church meet weekly and prepare quilts for distribution. Of the 346,170 quilts made nationally in 2016 for distribution around the world to those in need, 107 came from Grace Lutheran’s Quilt Club.
“They are used in any situation – refugees, hurricanes, earthquakes,” said Ann Jacoby, who has been involved in the effort for 10 years. “We usually get a report for the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church Association) telling us where they all went.”
This year, each box of quilts featured a barcode to enable more accurate tracking of destinations. “This is our first year with the barcode and we’re excited to hear about it,” Jacoby said.
The club not only provides the labor, but all the fabric, batting, thread and sewing supplies for the 60-inch by 80-inch quilts.
“It’s all given by the members,” said Barbara McCormick, group leader. “Sometimes people remember us in their wills so we can buy stick.”
The quilts aren’t the traditional hand-quilted type, McCormick explained, but are team-made. Some women cut squares, some sew the squares together at home, some prepare sheets, others sew binding, and they come together to tie the quilts, which means securing the batting and fabric with thread.
“Anyone can do something,” McCormick said.
Their goal is to complete three quilts per week and at least 100 quilts each year.
On the Sunday before the quilts are sent to a regional collection center, they are hung in the sanctuary for a blessing.
“We bring them into the church and hang them around the communion rail and on the pews. They are all brought in and the pastor has a special devotion to them,” McCormick said. “The following Tuesday, we pack them up and send them to their place of dispatch.”
Duvets are also shared locally. Six children’s quilts were recently delivered to Family Renew Community, which provides housing and services to homeless families in 32 apartments across three sites in Volusia County.
“They’re absolutely adorable. Families are moving into fully furnished apartments, and we’ll put them on the beds. It makes the kids so happy, and the parents love it,” said Claris Mac’Kie, Consultant at Family Renew Community. They know people in community care, and you can see their faces soften.”
The kids keep the quilts and will take them when they leave, Mac’Kie said.
The group adds quilts weekly to the current supply of 21, which again fills a storage unit at the church, waiting to be distributed.
Whether the quilts stay local or are sent far away, the stories come back to the quilters.
One year, a woman received a quilt and took it apart to make a dress for a job interview, Jacoby shared. On another occasion, she said, quilts sent to Haiti were used in outdoor hospitals as room dividers to help maintain patient privacy.
“It’s not just that you’re helping someone else, it’s a great camaraderie time for the women who work there,” McCormick said.
In addition to quilts, the Lutheran World Relief organization sends blankets, school kits, personal care kits, fabric, baby items and soap to 16 countries around the world.
“It’s really cool, it’s a great program,” Jacoby said.