Quilts made by a congregation in Ormond Beach provide comfort and more to area residents and people around the world.
As part of the nationwide 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 to be distributed worldwide to those in need, 107 came from the quilting club at Grace Lutheran.
“They are used in any situation — refugee, hurricanes, earthquakes,” said Ann Jacoby, who has been involved in the effort for 10 years. “We usually receive a report for the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church Association) telling us where they all went.”
This year, each box of quilts had a bar code on it to allow the destinations to be tracked more closely. “It’s our first year with the bar code and we’re excited to hear about that,” said Jacoby.
The club supplies not only the labor, but all of the fabric, batting, yarn, sewing supplies for 60-inch-by-80-inch quilts.
“It’s all donated by members,” said Barbara McCormick, group leader. “Sometimes people remember us in their will so we can buy batting.”
The quilts are not the traditional hand-quilted type, explained McCormick, but are completed as a team effort. Some women cut squares, some sew the squares together at home, some prepare sheets, others sew the binding, and they come together to tie the quilts, which means to secure the batting and fabric with yarn.
“Everybody can do something,” said McCormick.
Their goal is to complete three handmade quilts a week, and at least 100 quilts each year.
The Sunday before the quilts are sent to a regional collection center, they hang in the sanctuary for a blessing.
“We bring them in the church and hang them around the communion rail and on the pews. They are all brought in and the pastor has a special dedication for them,” said McCormick. “The next Tuesday, we pack them up and send them to their shipping place.”
Quilts 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 at three locations in Volusia County.
“They are absolutely adorable. The families move into completely furnished apartments, and we’ll put them on the beds. It makes the children so happy and the parents love it,” said Claris Mac’Kie, a consultant at Family Renew Community. “They know people in the community care, and you can see their faces soften.”
The children keep the quilts and will take them when they leave, said Mac’Kie.
The group is adding quilts weekly to the current stash of 21, which again is filling up a storage unit at the church, waiting to be distributed.
Whether the quilts stay locally or are sent far off, 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, shared Jacoby. Another time, she said, quilts that were sent to Haiti were used in outdoor hospitals as room dividers to help give the patients privacy.
“It’s not only that you’re helping someone else, it’s a good fellowship time for the women who work on them,” said McCormick.
In addition to quilts, the Lutheran World Relief organization sends blankets, school kits, personal care kits, fabric, baby items and soap out to 16 countries around the world.
“It’s really cool, it’s a great program,” said Jacoby.