"Peacing" together quilts: Lutherans team up to make quilts for those in need

Posted Online: April 04, 2014, 4:20 am
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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND -- Quilt pieces and peace were shared at St. John's Lutheran Church during a week-long "Extreme Quilting" event.

More than 20 church members participated in the March 22-28 project, making 15 quilts. Three more were donated, and all 18 were sent to Lutheran World Relief.

The national organization challenged Lutheran churches to provide 500,000 quilts in a year, St. John's spokeswoman Jenni Venema said.

"I know that other churches do quilting for Lutheran World Relief, but I don't think any of them do it for a straight week in a marathon quilting session," she said.

Most materials are donated, said colleague Margaret Tweet, who made many forays to Goodwill to get sheets to use as quilt fillers and backings.

Quilts measure 60-by-80 inches. They will be sent to a warehouse in Elgin, before going to a Maryland distribution center to be prepared to go wherever in the world they're needed, Mrs. Tweet said.

In January, Lutheran World Relief sent 26,000 quilts to the Philippines for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Ms. Venema said.

Last year, she said quilts were sent to Chad, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Thailand, Serbia, India, Japan, Lebanon and Jordan.

"Some are for emergency response, such as in the Philippines," Mrs. Tweet said.

Others are destined to needy countries such as Africa, where quilts are used in multiple ways, such as bedding, bags or as room dividers in tents, she said.

Quilts also get used as baby carriers, in vegetable market displays, sunshades and shawls, according to lwr.org. Quilts are "Tied in Faith. Sent in Hope. Wrapped in Love," it stated.

Videos of quilt distributions are tremendously inspiring, Mrs. Tweet said. People who get them have the biggest smiles and are excited that "someone would make them something like that," she said.

Big smiles also were seen around St. John's quilting tables, Mrs. Tweet said. "It's more fun being around a group of people than it is sitting in a room by myself making a quilt."

It's also a lot of fun to see how much more people can accomplish as a group, church member Joann Dennis said. "It's like, 'wow,' look at all we got finished today."

People didn't need to know how to sew to help with the quilts, Ms. Venema said, adding that anyone was welcome to help iron, cut fabric, pin quilt tops or tie knots.

By the end of February, there were 401,931 quilts, with more still to be processed, according to the website.

"That means that hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be wrapped in tangible symbols of God's love," the site said. "Thousands of people here in the United States discovered the joy of serving their neighbors through quilting. Bonds have been created, renewed and strengthened, and ministries have flourished."


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.

(More History)