Sep 22, 2015

Making and Giving: Blankets and Quilts

One of the charitable sewing and quilting groups that I currently belong to is "Alexia's Cozy Covers" in Salem, Oregon.  I so believe in 'giving back' and I do so in quilting guilds, groups, and inter-faith church groups from Salem, Oregon to Douglas, Alaska.

The second Saturday of every month, Alexia's Cozy Covers meets in one of the large rooms of the Salem Evangelical Church where the founding group began and now welcome others into their warm and caring sewing circle. 

We have people of many different faiths, like myself, as well as the wonderful group founders and leaders who began this group in 2010 and donate about 500 blankets and quilts a year to local charitable causes.

Originally begun to make blankets and quilts for children in the foster care system, particularly those that are 'aging out' and often leave with only the clothes on their backs. Needing places to stay, to eat, and jobs can be a formidable task at any age but for these young adults it must truly seem overwhelming. Many of them have little of their own, and the sight of a teen being given his first blanket of his own and his grateful acceptance is quite remarkable. But imagine an entire family, perhaps homeless and in desperate need. Social agencies are so grateful to have a pile of blankets and quilts to offer to such families as well as help finding and filling other needs like shelter, food, and clothing.

We have a number of social services in the Salem-Keizer area dedicated towards outreach and assistance and one way that is accomplished is just to let them know that others care.

And what better way than with a lovingly created quilt or a warm and fuzzy tied up with love blanket?

Each month about 20 of us gather, some of us with our sewing machines humming away, while others cut fringe and tie blankets, and still others hand sew beautiful labels onto the backs of our creations.

This month was our yearly volunteer thank you tea. With tables laden with coffee, tea, fancy punch and all manners of croissant tea sandwiches, breads, rolls, chips, and fruit. I think the goal was to motivate us to do more and do it faster, and it sure worked for me ;-)

I could barely finish my meal before I was back to sewing on my quilt binding! And people wonder and ask how I get so much done all the time ;-)

If you live in the Salem-Keizer area of any of our neighboring towns, stop by and sit and sew a spell. You'd be hard pressed to find a nice bunch of ladies and gents!

And thanks so much for stopping by here, for a visit! My blog just passed 7.5 million views. How fun is that? And thanks for joining in the drawing for the darling book in the post before. I draw a name tomorrow, so there is still time to sign in..if you are anonymous just send me an email at the addressed listed in that previous post!

Group members delivering their wagon filled with finished quilts, and again as they hold up  a lovely quilt of signature quilt squares designed by children at the Oregon State Fair with the help of our volunteers,  a speaker from Catholic Community Services explaining how they are finding beds for foster teens in a new housing unit where our blankets and quilts are greatly appreciated and well loved!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts... sewing, quilting, and creating prayer flags. Join me as I add my healing energies to changing our little project, one gift of sharing from my heart, at a time.


Joyce Carter said...

What a great post, Michele! It does my heart good to read about helping these kids. Being a teenager is difficult at the best of times but to go through what some of these kids have been through and made it into the "adult" world is an amazing feat. I am so happy that there are people out there that care enough to be willing to offer them a helping hand.May God bless you and your group.

jenclair said...

What a wonderful gift to give a young person--a treasure they can take with them into the next stage of life!

Scrappy quilter said...

What a great group. I always love hearing these stories. Great job.

Penny said...

This is an awesome undertaking -- just the knowledge that people are thinking about them, rather than ignoring them, must be a help for these 'lost' young people. There are so many people, both young and old, wandering through life with little connection and even less protection. A huge thank you to both you and your group.