The Sault is full of wonderful people doing wonderful things.
This week, I had the opportunity of getting to a group of ladies who are giving back to the community through their hobby. Quilting.
A couple weeks ago, I met Vicki Young at Operation: All Dressed Up, where she was making alterations on dresses for grade 8 and 12 girls who found their perfect dress at the event put on by the city police and the OPP. (More on that story can be found here).
She let me know of a new course that her group would be offering, ‘How to sew a quilt for beginners,’ free of charge.
The course is geared to young mothers who are interested in learning basic quilting skills, but anyone is welcome to come.
No experience, tools, or materials are required, Vicki told me.
Jut bring an eager mind.
The quilt kit is pre-cut, with easy to follow instructions and lots of passionate, knowledgeable quilters on hand to help out.
The program runs once every Wednesday from 10am-2pm for four weeks, starting on April 25th, in the basement of the Emmaus Church.
The goal is to complete a baby sized quilt for learners to take home and, if time permits, one to donate to the community.
That brings us to the primary function of Soo Quilts for Kids.
Four years ago, Vicki and four of her friends had started to play around with quilting.
This led them to asking themselves, ‘what more can we do?’
They began researching different quilting organizations, and they came across Quilts for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of children who suffer from abuse or life-threatening illnesses with comforting patchwork quilts.
The ladies took a trip to New York to check out the Philadelphia-based charity before starting their own Sault chapter here, which is all volunteer, all non-profit.
“It just kept growing and expanding,” Vicki told SaultOnline, “We now have over thirty members, and we do two sessions a month here and two sessions a month in Sylvan Valley. We have made over 650 quilts.”
And the quilts have gone to some very deserving organizations.
Soo Quilts for Kids regularly makes donations to the Sault Area Hospital pre-natal maternity unit, Women in Crisis, Children’s Aid Society, the Pegnancy Centre, Pauline’s Place, the Anishinabek Police Services, Algoma Family Services, as well as local ambulance services.
They also donate to some extremely worthy causes.
“We donated about 60 quilts to Fort MacMurray after the fires, and we are also doing up a quilt for the Humboldt Broncos. We’ve done them for individuals, too. For example, once we got a message about a little girl in Ottawa who was battling cancer, so we made one for her and embroidered her name on it,” Vicki shared of some of the more memorable quilts.
They’ve also run courses in Garden River for young mothers and seniors, as well as at St. Basil’s Secondary School, but the ‘How to sew for beginners’ will be the first formal course being offered through Soo Quilts for Kids.
‘We want to teach people to use the sewing machine, to make a quilt, to get artsy and creative with it. And part of it is about paying it forward, you make a quilt to keep and you donate one,” Vicky explained of inspiration behind the course.
Aside from the course, Vicky emphasized that anyone can come by anytime the Emmaus Church basement to learn how to quilt anytime that they are there (1st Wednesday and 3rd Friday of every month, 10am-2pm).
“It’s a really open environment so anyone who wants to come by and try it out is welcome to,” she said.
Soo Quilts for Kids runs at no cost to the receivers of the quilts, and no cost to the volunteers.
Local businesses such as Scotia Bank, Rotary 100, Brookfield, and Honda have been sponsors who have donated the money to keep the operation running.
Soo Van and Storage helps with shipping out the quilts when needed, and North Cott Fabrics, a Toronto based store, offers them discounts, sales, and donations on materials.
Emmaus Church has been generous enough to offer them the basement to use for storage and as a home base.
Form ore information on how you can help these amazing women do what they do, or to register for the course or find out more about the course being offered, e-mail [email protected] or call 705-759-6658.