I have a little good news-bad news story for you all today.
Long ago back in 2013 there was a disaster in West Texas. As part of the effort to help, I asked blog readers if anyone had any quilt tops. I would finish them and donate them to the cause. I had a great response and packages flooded in. It took a few weeks but I got them all quilted and sent off. It was a wonderful feeling and I was so happy to be a part of a great cause that helped so many people.
That was the start of the community quilt project.
Here is what I believe to be the first community quilt that I finished where the top was donated to me.
From there the community quilt project gradually grew. More quilt tops were sent…more and more and more. It got to the point that I couldn’t handle it anymore. Ronda stepped in to help and so the community quilt project grew. From there more and more came in…so much so that Ronda and I needed help.
Happily, help has arrived. We have added so many finishers to the bunch…Jazz, Cheryl, Lori, Ray, Laurie, Karin, LaNan, Karen, Elizabeth, June, Christi, and many more. I have been so blessed to have these people step up and finish quilt tops.
Along the way, other people and causes have entered. There is Julie who makes pillowcases, Carolyn who makes baby gowns and my friend Lana who makes kits for Lutheran World Relief.
It has turned into a mighty network and I’m really proud of it all. I never dreamed anything like this would happen.
Along the way, I also learned…Good is happening in so many different ways…
People who are making the tops feel like they have a purpose. They often get together with a friend group that puts tops together…like the Cresco ladies group. It’s so good for them and others like them to have a group to belong to with a shared purpose and goal to help others. Many of these gals appreciate having a social outlet.
What was once quilt top donations has morphed into so much more. People are cleaning out their stash. They are getting rid of things that no longer make them happy. What a wonderful feeling to have a clean space. All that is sent out to people who are needing fabric to make the tops. Families are happy that grandma is “getting rid of that stuff”.
The finishers are able to help more people as they finish and donate tops to causes they hold dear.
Then, of course, the people who finally get the quilts are blessed with the actual quilt.
I love all of this. I have been thrilled to watch it grow and be a part of it all…but, I need this whole project to grow again…but I need it to grow in a different way.
Behind all that goodness…this is happening…
This is at my backdoor…boxes, and bags of stuff coming in and going out.
This is my kitchen…
My laundry room…
More from my kitchen…
My dining room table…
but wait…there is more. My garage along where I park.
A sorting spot in my garage…
Shelving in my garage.
The extra bay of my garage.
I forgot to take a picture of my computer desk but there are things here. There is email in my inbox all related to the community quilt project that needs attention.
There are probably 75 pictures in my camera that all need documenting and blog posts written about the donations.
All of this needs to be dealt with. That means hours of sorting and opening packages finding who best needs what items. That means packaging and trips to the post office. That means people at my house to pick up donated items. That means me delivering stuff. That means emails. That means hours of time writing blogs about it all.
I can’t do it like this anymore.
I am overwhelmed.
In the stack of letters on the kitchen counter is a letter from a sweet blog reader. She sent a box and wants to know if I got it as I didn’t blog about it yet. Hmm. Frankly, I have no idea. I feel terrible that I don’t know. I feel terrible that I will likely have to ignore the note because I can’t resort and look through everything at this point to tell her…Is her package in one of these piles…maybe. Did I already take pictures of it and haven’t posted the pictures yet? Maybe.
I feel terrible about not knowing.
I am sincerely grateful for the donations. I love the potential they have to bring. I love the kindness and generosity they represent. I love being a part of the network of good deeds that all of this spearheads.
I’ve known this was getting to be hard for me ever since December of last year when I went back to doing childcare again. The boxes sat here and I didn’t have time for them like I previously had. I started getting stressed that I wasn’t keeping the right names with donations.
I talked with Ray about it then and he encouraged me to work harder on encouraging direct donations. That’s when I really started pushing the donations page. FIND THAT HERE. It was a great idea and I ran with it hoping that more and more readers would catch on a start making direct donations. It has helped but donations have soared.
That’s a good problem to have.
Ronda has had great success with getting donated tops from blog readers. In fact, I don’t send quilt tops to Ronda anymore. Readers send them directly to her and she gets enough that she can’t accept more from me. That is AWESOME!!
So…what can be done so that the community quilt project can go on, but I get my house back?
I’m totally willing to be a part of this all but, I can not keep doing this like I am. I see so much good being done through the project. I don’t want to give it up. I don’t want to see it die. I don’t want to completely let it go…but I can not keep doing it like it is.
One of my favorite stories ever was the day Ray met up with Debbie and her friend. Her friend was downsizing and wanted to gift her stash to a charitable group. Ray and Debbie each drove about two hours to meet. They hooked up and Ray was gifted all of the goodies.
You can read the whole story HERE.
So much good and happiness came from this donation. If you read the posts about Ray finishing quilts, Ray often writes that the fabric came from this gift. It truly has been the gift that keeps on giving.
I want to still be a big part of all of this but more in a way that this donation happened. Debbie contacted me. I passed on contact info to Ray. They set up the meeting. They made it all work.
I again talked with Ray. Not only is he a great longarmer, but he also has a great set of listening ears. He encouraged me to be upfront and honest with all of you. He, like me, doesn’t want the community quilt project to end but knows we need to make some changes.
I NEED people to use the donation page. Again, the DONATION PAGE LINK IS HERE. Please continue to donate but PLEASE find someone on that page, contact them via email and ask for their address. Send your donations directly to them. If you’d like you can ask them to take pictures and send them to me and I will post them on the blog…or you can take pictures of your donation, let me know who you are sending them too and I can blog about that. It would save so much postage money and time.
The link to the donation page can always be found at the top of the blog in the tab section.
If you are a group who is wishing to get donations, contact me and I will add you to the page. I am going to start asking groups to list the state they live in so that if people want to donate locally/regionally they can. Also, postage is less if you send packages within your postal region.
The same agreement will still be asked:
Finishers please take pictures of the finished items you make with the donation. Send them to me and I will put them on the blog so we all can enjoy the finished product AND the person who donated can see the good their donation made.
If you have a donation and need help knowing where to send it, shoot me an email and I’ll help as I know things like, Lori and Cheryl need large quilt tops. I will happily find a group that will take your donation.
As for postage auctions, I am changing the name of that to Community Good Deeds Fund. I originally started the fund to help defer the costs of sending quilt tops or fabric to finishers after the postage bills started being around $300 per month. Nowadays the costs for postage are even higher-closer to $500. Many of you have donated to the fund and I really appreciate that. Much good happens because of that fund.
I will continue to hold the auctions to raise money for that fund as there is a need for batting and other supplies for the quilt finishers. Ray has gone through the first roll of batting and needed a second. I just ordered a roll for Ronda. In the future, I would love to buy some backing fabric wholesale for some of the finishers. I would love to forward some money to Carolyn who makes the baby gowns and is spending $100 per month or more on postage to send baby gowns to my friend who makes the baby care kits. There are plenty of places to spend money to continue good deeds…even simple things like this.
I bought this stamped embroidery baby quilt for $1.50 at the thrift store.
I sent it to Jazz. She is working on the embroidery and will be donating it to the hospital she supports once it’s finished. Postage money will still be appreciated for projects like this.
I think we can work smarter and make this community quilt project even better.
My great hope is that maybe I can turn into a finisher…or a binder for the Cresco ladies…or sew Lutheran World Relief quilts for my church. Right now every minute of my charity time is wrapped up in the donations that are sent to me. I think I would be so much happier if the donation page did the donation work and I could sit behind a sewing machine.
Again, if you have a donation you want to send, the DONATION PAGE LINK IS HERE. Whatever you do, please don’t stop donating…instead find a great charity group on the donation page and donate directly. Many are eagerly waiting for your donation.
I am asking that any packages sent to me only be for potential auction items or if it’s something for me personally. I have sincerely appreciated each and every donation along the way…Thank you for understanding.