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Community Impact: Stitching up smiles with Quilts for Kids

Members of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of Quilts for Kids are convinced there’s wisdom to be gained from Peanuts’ character Linus when he says, “Happiness is a warm blanket.” They’ve seen that happiness in the smiling faces of kids weak from disease but cheered when presented a colorful, handmade quilt made especially for them.

A volunteer organization whose members machine-sew quilts to provide comfort to children in hospitals and shelters, Quilts for Kids currently has 97 chapters throughout the U.S., including the Northeast Georgia Chapter which was organized in March 2012 in Gainesville. Since forming, the local chapter has recruited almost 200 volunteers across northeast Georgia and has delivered 373 quilts to children at Northeast Georgia Medical Center and 129 quilts and pillowcases to community shelters.

“The quilts are made of kid-friendly prints and accented with bright colored strips or squares,” says chapter leader Betty Wright. “Each quilt is filled with hugs by the volunteer quilter to help the recipient during their hospital or shelter stay.”

during their hospital or shelter stay.” Labels sewn into each quilt identify it as a Quilts for Kids project and ask, “Do you like your quilt? Tell us your story at [email protected]” A mother of one local quilt recipient reports her tiny son “sleeps in his crib, cuddled up with his quilt.”

The Jackson EMC Foundation in February granted $5,000 to Quilts for Kids, Northeast Georgia Chapter, to purchase fabric to make more quilts. The grant money will fund fabric purchase for half or more of the 1,512 yards of fabric needed to make quilts this year for children at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gateway Domestic Violence Shelter in Gainesville, and Family Promise of Hall County.

“Our goal is to provide as many quilts as possible annually to children in need of a comforting blanket,” says Wright. “We chose the facilities we did because of the geographic coverage of the hospital (13 counties) and the need to comfort the kids of abuse and homeless situations.”

Quilts for Kids volunteers meet monthly to cut fabric and assemble kits to be sewn by other volunteers. Meetings are held at First Baptist Church and Hopewell United Methodist Church, both in Gainesville. Volunteers also have been recruited from the Hall County Quilt Guild and The Spirited Quilters of Duluth.

To find out how you can help bring happiness with a warm quilt, visit www.negaquiltsforkids.org or call Betty Wright at 678-617-9671.