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Are you involved in Charitable Quilting? Quilts have a unique ability to impart encouragement, warmth, love and hope and quilters have the biggest, warmest hearts around!   If you’d like to use your skills to benefit others, but aren’t sure what to do, I have some inspiration for you!

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Quilts of Valor Foundation
Begun by Catherine Roberts in 2003, Quilts Of Valor Foundation honors those who serve our country with handmade red, white and blue quilts. Catherine had a life-changing dream while her son was in Iraq that was “. . . as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed . . .  hunched over. . . utter despair. . . in the next scene (he was) wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed . . . to  . . . hope and well-being. . . The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing.”

During a QOVF block drive at the fabric store where I once worked, I received an email from a woman who had served in combat in the Middle East and held several medals for her service. Yes, there were medals, but it was the thought of a handmade quilt of honor that offered her hope and healing. Our local Quilts of Valor chapter was pleased to award her a quilt in fulfillment of the QOVF mission: “. . .  to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”  What a difference Charitable Quilting can make! Click here to find out how you can help.

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Project Linus
Children are so precious and full of potential, yet vulnerable in so many ways. Project Linus makes it their mission to wrap children in need in handmade blankets of love made by “Blanketeers” across the country. Many quilts are donated through ongoing projects, but Project Linus also responds quickly to catastrophic events that result in trauma for children. Here are a few examples, I was privileged to help with years ago.

  • Hurricane Katrina left thousands of families without homes and possessions and was particularly devastating for the children involved. Project Linus organized emergency “Blanket Bees” across the country and sent thousands of quilts to New Orleans to help comfort, warm and encourage the kids who were affected.
  • The loss of life and home from a mammoth landslide in a local small town left many feeling powerless to help. But, then there were the quilters. The nearby Project Linus chapter gathered hundreds of quilts and sent them to the slide area to help re-build hope.
  • A horrifying shooting took several lives at a local high school. Project Linus asked for quilts, preferably in school colors, to offer the comfort of handmade care. The school counseling center used the quilts to help teens cope with a tragedy that was beyond comprehension.

Click here to read more about Project Linus and find a local chapter near you. So many needs, such a great way to make a difference – check it out!

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Million Pillowcase Challenge
Pillowcases are quick, easy and loads of fun to make. Coats and Clark is a sponsor of the Million Pillowcase Challenge, organized by allpeoplequilt.com. It’s an easy way to give back and benefit many people who have varying needs. The concept is simple – make one or more pillowcases and donate them through a participating shop or directly to an organization that has a need. It’s not just a pillowcase, it’s a symbol of care, hope and comfort to the one who receives it.

This is a wonderful Charitable Quilting project for Scout troops, school groups, 4-H or you and your friends to work on together. You’ll find patterns and lists of where to donate on the Million Pillowcase Challenge web site –  click here. It’s a great way to teach the value of giving back and you’ll find lots of opportunities.

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There are SO many needs and possibilities for Charitable Quilting in your community and across the nation! Coats and Clark sponsors a pillowcase donation station at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in WA every year. Is there an event in your area where you could add a donation station? What other needs do you see locally that your quilting skills could meet? Ask around, keep your eyes and ears open and spend some time searching the internet for opportunities. Needs abound and you – our amazing, warm-hearted quilting friends – you just might be the answer!

About the Author

Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community. Follow Annette and more of her sewing adventures on her own blog, www.sewfullife.com.

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