When my cousin Anita Queen posted these pictures on Facebook, I called her up and asked if I could interview her about her recent charitable work as a quilter. Being a family relative and fellow seamstress, she gladly shared her story.
Have you ever had a quilt that seems to grow dust? You’ve posted it on Etsy, taken it to craft fairs, and no matter what you do, nobody seems to want to pay money for it? Consider giving it to a charitable cause.
When Anita Queen realized she had an over-abundance of fabric, she embarked on a project that brought a lot of warmth to a number of homeless people, refugees, and working poor individuals. “People had given me so much fabric, and I just wanted to do something with it that made a difference,” Anita said. During this cold time of year, the warmth of a quilt is so deeply appreciated.
Anita’s sister, Carole Mooney, distributed some of the quilts to people who were homeless. Some were living in a little “village of tents,” and some worked part time jobs, but had fallen on hard times and couldn’t afford to pay their rent. “There are thousands of people who are homeless…” Anita told me. “Many have fallen into hard times due to the economy. There are also a lot of mentally ill people who are homeless. These people can’t help it.”
Anita used material that was largely given to her by friends, to make these quilts. For the fuzzy flannel quilt backs, she was given a grant from the Victoria Foundation of Arizona. The flannel backs helped provide a certain amount of warmth to the quilts. Anita told me quilts “are filled with love, and you feel that when you wrap one around you.”
The smiles shown in these photos “show their gratitude,” said Anita, whose sister asked permission before taking the recipients’ photos in exchange for the quilts. Carole, Anita’s sister, took the quilts to homeless individuals and distributed them in person. I asked Anita how she felt when Carole returned with these photographs of the faces of true gratitude.
“I cried,” she said, “and I thought, ‘I gotta do so much more!'”
Another friend of Anita’s, Lara Hannon, donated some of Anita’s quilts to refugees. Altogether, 30 homemade quilts were given to individuals in need. What a wonderful way to share your talent with the world!
As our interview came to a close, I asked Anita, “If quilters who follow my blog wanted to donate their handmade quilts to a charitable cause, how might they go about it?” Together, she and I came up with the following possibilities to consider:
- Contact your church, mosque, temple, or synagogue
- Donate to Family Promise (see link) or similar homeless shelters
- Donate to City Light Women’s & Children’s Shelter
- Give a quilt to your local fire department or police department
- Donate quilts for charity fundraisers
I’d like to thank my cousin, Anita Queen, for sharing her wonderful story of how a person’s talent with quilts can truly help those in need. 🙂