Behold the healing power of skillfully crafted fabric!
It is easy to sit at home and express sympathy for those suffering emotionally, physically or spiritually! However, it shows one’s true character when you get up and assertively reach out to relieve pain, loneliness, hopelessness, hunger, fear and other soul-robbing distresses.
Fortunately, there are many charitable forces within our county, and its communities, which give freely of their time, talents and resources so that the lives of friends, neighbors and strangers, who are deeply hurting, can be measurably improved. Most of these volunteers and donors are just everyday folks, equipped with hero-size hearts for helping others. Then there are the professionals who have proudly chosen to make sacrifices on behalf of those residing in Matagorda County as fearless First Responders. These are our home-based EMTs, law officers, fire fighters and emergency response team specialists.
It would, indeed, be a worthy endeavor to showcase outstanding representatives of all of these public and private enterprises and boldly profile their good deeds. But, on this occasion, I have opted to spotlight local groups of dedicated artisans, whose handmade products are distributed, at no charge, as a way of meaningfully aiding those that society often overlooks.
The deserving targets of their valued gifts include military veterans, nursing home residents, breast cancer patients, children in distress and others with unique needs. The providers of these tangible expressions of care and concern are those in our midst who skillfully design fabric items and then tirelessly assemble them for distribution. The three service groups, with which I’m (remotely) familiar, include the Charity Bee of Matagorda County’s Memory Makers Quilt Guild (MMQG); the Community Glory Guild (CGG), operating under the umbrella of the First United Methodist Church of Bay City; and, the local chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF). No doubt, there are many other entities with equally lofty missions and glorious achievements.
Last year, MMQG’s charity division made a notable number and wide variety of useful goods for those in VA hospitals, nursing homes, schools and under CPS supervision. This year, enthusiasm is reported to be building to do ever greater work, with new ideas emerging at an ever-accelerating pace.
The QOV group’s goal is to ensure that those who have honorably served in the armed forces are publically thanked for their defense of our country and receive a heartfelt “Welcome Home!” through their splendid artistry. Routinely, this start-to-finish process can take one of three distinct paths and, with makers-pride infused, may require close to a year for one quilter to finalize a single quilt.
Frequently, experienced quilters are aware of a deserving GI, and take it upon themselves to handcraft, a piece for them which incorporates a patriotic theme. Or, a quilting pal is enlisted to do one for the close friend or family member of the requester who valiantly served. Non-quilters can also get in on the action by reaching out to QOV sponsors and ask to be taught how to quilt, or offer to prepare fabric for piecing. If they stick with it, their efforts will proudly yield, under the watchful eyes of seasoned quilters, a commemorative covering for their most grateful defender of freedom.
Last, but certainly not least, is the outcome-oriented, but congenially operated, Glory Guild. Local needs currently being met by this devoted group include Christmas stockings for VA hospital patients, cloth tissue holders for nursing home residents, and mini-blankets with which law officers can warm and comfort young kids during crisis situations. Although the group meets at a Bay City church, it is genuinely a ‘secular’ enterprise. Therefore, anyone who sews or quilts, or anyone wanting to learn how to master these crafts, is invited to participate in the Guilds community-focused projects on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.
Anyone interested in charitably channeling their interests in fabrics, may contact the following for further details on how to become involved: Memory Makers Quilt Guild or Community Glory Guild – Donna Younger, 979-240-3640; Quilts of Valor – Pat Ratliff, 979-240-5521.