Help us Help the Community

By The Quilt Lady (Billie Ruth Standbridge)

July 8, 2005 - The Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild asks you to help us help the community. How do you do that? One time a year, our guild members make a raffle quilt, and from those proceeds we have been able to consistently donate $1,000 to worthy causes that are voted on by our members. Almost from the beginning we have donated to Hospice. As Donna Rankin from Mount Pleasant said, "If you have never used Hospice, at some point in time, you will."

More recently we have begun to also donate to Terrific Tuesday, the Alzheimer Day Care Program that is run by the First Methodist Church. Nobody would know better than a family caregiver for an Alzheimer victim how crucial it is to have a little time off. That is what this program is about: time out for the caregiver, and a stimulating time in a safe environment for the family member.

Our raffle quilt is displayed in various locations throughout the town between now and the date of our Fall Festival Quilt Show, Sept. 16-17, at the Sulphur Springs High School Gym. Currently the quilt is hanging from the balcony inside City National Bank on the square, viewable from both doors as you enter. Tickets, as well as flyers about our show, are available at the front desk. Look carefully on the flyer for information about how to enter your quilts in our show. If you are on the Internet, go to sulphurspringstxquilts.com and you will find directions for entering, whether it's a newer quilt or an antique. Also, it can belong to a friend or a relative. It doesn't have to be your own.

Our quilt guild made community service one of our goals from the very beginning of our organization. At the beginning we were able to help only one family, but since our second year we have been increasingly able to donate cash, as well as making quilts for a variety of community and area needs. Above our normal annual giving, for Christmas 2004, instead of exchanging gifts, all of our gift money was given to a military family to help ease the financial hardship and absence while husband/dad was in Iraq. Sulphur Springs is a generous town. Fortunately, we are only one of numerous organizations that work on behalf of town members.

Helping is a proud tradition with quilters. It is one of the ways in which almost any woman can contribute. Quilts were commonly used for fund raising during the Civil War. According to Terry Thompson's Civil War Internet site, in 1862 the government sent out an appeal for women to sew articles of clothing and quilts desperately needed for the soldiers out in the field. These were done quickly with a single block pattern, 7'4" by 4', the size of a soldier's cot. To raise money for the Union war effort, elegant Album quilts were made, while medallion broderie perse (stitching chintz motifs to cloth) were made by Confederate women to raise money for gun boats.

A different type of cause is one that relates to history and to our flag. While Betsy Ross may or may not have sewn the first American flag, I think we all agree it is the most significant symbol that represents our country. Canby, Ross's grandson, created a cause that made it possible for her home to be acquired by the Betsy Ross Memorial Association. Starting in 1898, two million Americans donated dimes to help convert the time-worn building into a national shrine.

In 1918, a quilter from Nebraska made a signature quilt to be given to the Red Cross to be raffled off for World War I fundraising. To enhance the possibility of raising the most money possible, Ms. Kearney sent a block to Washington and they received the block back with Mrs. Woodrow Wilson's signature.

Come to our guild meetings and meet women and men who are carrying on the traditions today, just as surely as they were carried out during this country's infancy. We share ideas and get help from each other at Charlotte's Quilting Web free quilting bee. The upcoming program at our next guild meeting will be one of sharing skills by the more advanced quilters with those who will be less familiar with specific techniques. This is really fun, informal and a very informative kind of meeting. Come join us at the Senior Citizens Center at 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month. The "Welcome" sign will be out.

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