They refer to them as “comforters.” These hand-tied patchwork quilts arrive from quilters all over the country to local Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) offices, and are sent out into the world to provide . . . comfort.
Given out to those in need, often after catastrophes, these comforters are used in all the ways a quilt can be used when you have nothing: bed covers, room dividers, carpets, curtains, mattresses.
“We send out thousands and thousands of these comforters to refugees and to others in vulnerable situations,” says Les Gustafson-Zook, Constituent Relations Coordinator for MCC. “What’s really happening when you make this comforter, is a blessing. A blessing and a wish for a whole life for the recipient.”
Because these comforters are intended for refugees or any people in vulnerable circumstances, regardless of religious affiliation, the fabrics used need to avoid violent cartoon characters, guns or camouflage, characters showing too much skin, or religious imagery. What they do ask for, are prints that are bright and colorful.
“Folks like the beauty of these comforters,” says Les. “People just love that they’re colorful.” In refugee camps, where colors tend to be drab and utilitarian, the colorful comforters provide a bright spot of joyfulness.
“This amazing artwork is part of an amazing culture,” says Les. “A quilter’s scraps and talents go into building comforters, something that’s handmade by someone with love, and that’s truly awesome.”
To learn more about MCC relief efforts, as well as their spectacular quilt auctions, visit MCC.org.