This comes to us from Karey Patterson Bresenhan, director of the International Quilt Festival:
QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA
A Cooperative Project
To Comfort Victims of Hurricane Katrina
To quilters everywhere:
The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast is beyond belief. Here in Houston our hearts are heavy with sorrow for all the horrible losses, and we are preparing to welcome the thousands of refugees that are being bussed to us because they have lost their homes or have no access to whatever is left of their homes. Like so many other people, we want to help. Knowing quilters, we think you want to help, too, because there are no more generous, giving, open-hearted people than quilters.
Therefore, we are launching a two-part drive for Hurricane Katrina relief, and we urge you to join us in this project. We’re calling it QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.
PART 1: Urgent Donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
We will match EVERY donation made by quilters to the American Red Cross, up to a maximum of $10,000, on a dollar for dollar basis. In other words, if you make a $25 donation, we’ll match that with another $25 donation. If you make a $100 donation, we’ll match that with another $100 donation, right up to the maximum. To avoid delays in your donations reaching the Red Cross, and because we have trusted quilters for more than 30 years now, just email us with the amount of your donation that you sent to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Every penny of every donation–up to $10,000–will be matched by International Quilt Festival. You have my word on that. Please use this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and use the subject line: RED CROSS DONATION.
PART 2: QUILTS FOR COMFORT
Many thousands of the Katrina refugees are being sent to Houston RIGHT NOW, and no one knows how long they will have to be here. Most of them escaped the hurricane’s fury with only the clothes on their backs–nothing more–and they may have absolutely nothing to go home to. They don’t even know. The Astrodome is ready as temporary housing, but there is a serious shortage of bedding. Part 2 of QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA is the collection of quilts of all kinds to be distributed to the refugees here in Houston so that they have something soft to sleep on instead of the hard concrete floors of the temporary shelters and something warm to cover up with against the chill of otherwise welcome air-conditioning (we’ve been in the 90s and 100s for weeks now).
Many of us have unfinished projects filling our closets and cupboards. Get out one of those projects–twin size preferred but
no smaller than baby quilt size, please–and finish it up for this. Use lightweight batting–do whatever binding is the quickest, even a close zigzag stitch. You don’t have to quilt it–tie it! If you have only small projects, add borders. Think about a mother lying on the floor cradling her baby–that’s the size quilt we need to provide. These quilts are not meant to be heirlooms, although they will probably be treasured for many years as a symbol of the caring of strangers. Tie them, machine quilt them, work in a group with your friends and finish several on an assembly line, do whatever it takes to get these finished quickly. THE NEED FOR THESE QUILTS IS RIGHT NOW! If you already have some finished pieces that you don’t have plans for, send them too, as long as they are no smaller than baby quilt size. If you are a professional, you may have sample quilts that have become shop-worn or faded but are still clean and very usable in an emergency–send them!–we are IN an emergency! Be sure to put a label on the back of your quilt or sign it with a kind thought and your name and date. Every piece will go to a refugee family driven from their homes by the hurricane.
To participate in QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA, send an email to email@example.com (subject line: COMFORT AMERICA) to let us know how many quilts you are sending. That will help us help the Red Cross in its planning. Please do not expect a confirmation that your quilt has been received or any kind of nice thank-you. Sometimes we just have to do things because they are the RIGHT things to do–this is one of those times. People need help…the kind of help WE can give.
Use this address to send your quilt/s:
COMFORT AMERICA PROJECT
c/o International Festival
7660 Woodway, Suite 550
Houston, TX 77063
Please note: for security, do NOT use the word ‘quilt’ ANYWHERE in your address label!
Many of us have also amassed linen closets full of old but completely usable sheets–perhaps a size you no longer use, or juvenile prints that your college age kids don’t like anymore. Clean sheets and blankets are also most welcome to QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA. Naturally, everything should be clean and fresh. These folks have lived with enough mud and dirt to last them the rest of their lives–let’s give them a clean bed to rest in. Please note that we cannot use fabric, patterns, scraps, etc.
Quilt Festival will serve as the collection point for these quilts, and we will deliver them DAILY to the American Red Cross staffing the refugee centers in Houston, where they will be distributed by the Red Cross volunteers. Because we are right here in Houston where more than 25,000 of the refugees will be, we can make a difference RIGHT NOW…if you’ll help.
Time is critical–the need is NOW! People are arriving by the hour, children are bedding down on the cold concrete, bedding is needed by people of all ages who have lost everything in this horrible storm. Please help if you can. If you live in or around Houston, you are welcome to hand deliver your donations to us. Our address is 7660 Woodway, Suite 550, Houston 77063. You can find it on Mapquest. Please note that this is one block of Woodway that runs perpendicular to all the rest of Woodway.
Thanks to everyone!
QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.
Karey Patterson Bresenhan
Director, International Quilt Festival–Houston and Chicago
A NOTE TO MY ELM CREEK READERS:
If you donate $25 or more to the American Red Cross between now and September 30, send or email me a copy of your receipt and I will mail you an Elm Creek Quilts pin AND and a fat quarter of the Elm Creek Quilts fabric of your choice. If you donate a quilt to Quilters Comfort America before September 30, I will send you an autographed Elm Creek Quilts novel of your choice. (Email me a picture of yourself with the quilt or quilts you are donating.) Since time is of the essence, the book giveaway is limited to the first 100 Elm Creek Readers to respond. Pins and fabric will be given out as long as supplies last. I would be thrilled if you used up my supply of pins!
The need is urgent. You can make a difference. Let’s show the world what the spirit of quilting is all about by offering comfort to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.