Women answer the call for quilts and more

By on October 14, 2009

Local church organizes project to make 3,009 quilt for those in need
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—When the women of the Sugar Grove Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Relief Society came up with a goal in April of making 2,009 quilts for their service project, Joyce Smith said she thought it would be impossible.

“None of these ladies had ever quilted before,” she said.

Imagine her surprise when she arrived to drop off her contribution at the church at Bliss and Hankes roads in September, and she saw 3,009 quilts piled up in every corner of the building.

“It was breathtaking,” she said.

Smith, former president of the Relief Society, the women’s service organization within the LDS church, said she suggested the idea of giving the quilts to The Linus Project and Infants in Need, two organizations that provide quilts and blankets to children and infants while they are in the hospital.

The women decided that contributions could be in the form of infant receiving blankets, crocheted and knitted blankets, as well as quilts. Nine church congregations were involved. A number of them held quilting classes, and Smith said some women who had never even sewn before learned how to quilt during the project.

Sugar Grove resident Cynthia Lippincott said the camaraderie that developed among the women during the project was very rewarding. She said there were nights when the women sat around in a circle at the church and worked on the quilts together, and times during which groups of teenage girls gathered together to tie the quilts.

“It was fun,” she said. “The best part was when we started thinking about the children who would soon be cuddled in the blanket. It makes you grateful for the blanket on your own bed.”

Smith conducted several classes on making receiving blankets, and taught her 10-year-old granddaughter Katie how to tie the quilts, a technique used to keep the batting within the quilts evenly distributed. Joyce made a total of 35 quilts, and Katie tied five of them on her own, with a little help from her mom, Sarah.

A “Pie and Tie” day was held in July, during which about 20 women gathered to eat pie and tie quilts. Smith said she was pleased at how well-supported the event was and that so many women showed up to help.

While a majority of the quilts and blankets went to the two U.S. infant organizations, the women sent 1,000 of them to the church’s Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, they will be shipped to people in need throughout the world. Recent international crises to which the LDS church has responded include the earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and the flooding in the Phillipines.

“It’s what we do best,” Lippincott said.

She said the church works with other humanitarian agencies to ship food, clothing, school supplies, newborn kits and hygiene items to people in need world-wide.