Volunteers Make Quilts for Kids
By K.L. Vantran
and some Saturdays, volunteers at Fort Lewis, Wash., lug sewing
machines to the Army Community Service building so they can create
quilts for children of those deployed in the war on terrorism.
About 18 months
ago, Marty Alexander, library technician for the Fort Lewis Library
System, saw a sample of a cuddle quilt on TV. An avid quilter,
Alexander said she went about making one. It took her four hours.
said she thought if she could get an assembly line going, she’d
be in business. She talked with Mary Herrera, chief of family
services, Army Community Service. Donna Arias, a financial planner
at ACS, joined the team, and the "Quilts for Kids" program
began. Since then, about 90 children have received the lap quilts.
the war started, I got to thinking about all the kids whose parents
would be going away," said Alexander. "I wanted to do
something for them."
In the beginning,
about 20 volunteers answered the call, said Herrera. "People
brought in their own sewing machines," she said. "Some
donated fabric. It was really nice."
said they’ve received several donations of material and batting
to include more than 50 yards of washed and ironed material from
Quite a few
reservists stationed at Madigan Army Medical Center pitched in,
said Alexander. "You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a lieutenant
colonel rip out seams with a pocket knife," she added with
six stalwarts keep the program going.
Making a quilt
involves purchasing the fabric, laundering, ironing, cutting and
sewing, said Herrera.
experience ranges from the novice to expert. "People could
do what they were comfortable with for as long as they liked,"
said Herrera. "And someone with no experience could be paired
with a quilter from way back."
Most of the
recipients have been young children, said Herrera. "We’ve
given quilts to newborns (and to) chronically ill and hospitalized
children, but mostly to kindergartners and third- and fourth-graders,"
each child has been very appreciative when receiving a quilt.
said while making quilts takes quite a bit of time, there are
the day a mother and her son came to the library to thank them
for a quilt.
one of the hottest days of the summer," she said. "And
the little boy was carrying his quilt. He wouldn’t give it up."
Afterward, Alexander said she went into the bathroom and cried.