More than any other Fons & Porter publication, readers of Easy Quilts tell us that they donate the quilts they make. We’re proud of that. Since your hearts are as soft as ours, we thought we’d share some of our favorite stories of other charitable efforts in the quilting community. In every issue of Easy Quilts, we’ll feature a “giving quilt”: a quilt that, in some way, gives back.
Quilts for Kids
The desire to make a warm, cozy quilt to welcome a new baby is what draws many people to try their hand at quilting for the first time. Considering the heart many quilters have for children, the popularity of the Quilts for Kids organization makes perfect sense. Quilts for Kids is a nonprofit with a stated mission to use comforting patchwork quilts to brighten the lives of children who suffer from abuse or life-threatening illnesses or who live in poverty.
When Quilts for Kids founder Linda Ayres noticed numerous bags filled with discontinued fabric about to be thrown away at the Philadelphia Design Center nearly two decades ago, she had no idea she was about to start a movement that would still be going strong 200,000-plus quilts later. Not yet having any plans for the fabric, she asked if she could keep it. It was only afterward that Linda remembered her young daughter’s experience of being hospitalized and not being permitted to bring her favorite stuffie from home because of the risk of allergens; she realized that a machine-washable quilt might have been allowed where a toy was not. With that, the idea for Quilts for Kids (QFK) was born.
Growing One Chapter at a Time
Since its founding in 2000, QFK has grown to more than 100 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, thanks in part to donations of fabric from Northcott. Though the organization does its best to distribute quilts nationwide from its headquarters in Pennsylvania, local chapters help ensure broader distribution by focusing their quiltmaking efforts on their communities. Chapters do their own fundraising, hold workshops, distribute kits and promote QFK’s activities in their communities. Quilt shops also help organize QFK workshops and fabric drives or serve as drop-off locations for shipping many quilts at once to headquarters.
You don’t need to join a chapter to contribute to QFK. The website quiltsforkids.org contains full details on how individuals can make and donate quilts, including how to request a kit containing fabric for the top and backing along with full instructions. Aside from paying careful attention to the materials used and finished dimensions, quiltmakers may use prints and patterns of their choosing to make unique quilts. QFK also accepts donations of new fabric, particularly fun juvenile prints—think of it as de-stashing for a cause!—as well as cash donations to help fund their efforts.
Learn More About Quilts for Kids
The quilts that QFK distributes are used to provide comfort and caring in a wide variety of circumstances, as described in the Children’s Stories section of the website: from pediatric oncology and cardiology units in hospitals, to group foster homes and shelters, to new Habitat for Humanity homeowners, to disaster zones at home and abroad, Quilts for Kids continues to fulfill its mission to bring smiles to children during difficult times in their young lives.
This feature is included in Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts Fall 2018 issue.
Explore Quilt Giving and a Lot More Quilting Inspiration!