Posted on Wednesday July 10, 2019 at 11:22 a.m.
Local community effort gains momentum
A local community project has made 100 quilt kits, and counting, for the Family Birthing Centre of the Hawkesbury General Hospital in less than a year.
Carrie McKay, from Saint-Pascal, thought up the project in September of last year and enlisted the help of her friend Stephanie Bleakney, who works at the quilt shop The Fabric Box in Hawkesbury. The two women then ran the idea by the owner of The Fabric Box, Joanne Pelletier, and she offered her help. “She loved the idea and she offered us the store as a home base for collecting donations and as a place to store everything,” said McKay. The store is also the main drop off and pick up location for the quilt kits.
McKay came up with the idea as a solution to two personal goals she set herself in 2018. She wanted to start a local grassroots project. She also hoped to purge her sewing space of any fabric that was not being used for a project. As McKay was aware that many larger hospitals currently have “cuddle quilt” programs, she approached the HGH with the idea – they were interested and the program was given the green light in September 2018.
McKay contacted people she knew within the quilting community, made presentations at several guild meetings. She also asked people in the community to help spread the word. HGH staff and McKay prepared guidelines for those who were interested in participating.
“Donations of quilting cotton, cotton batting and flannel came pouring in,” said McKay. “These donations were assembled into kits which we prepared, stored, distributed and collected once finished, at the Fabric Box in Hawkesbury. Some people washed and ironed fabric for us; others pieced quilt tops and batting; some collected donated supplies; others, still, quilted and bound the finished projects.”
To date, this program has finished over 100 of these cuddle quilt kits for the Family Birthing Centre of the HGH and McKay has no intention of stopping there. The program has also given some of their fabric donations – items that are too small for this project – to a guild in Montreal that makes dog beds for an animal rescue.
McKay says that the productivity of the program has slowed down a bit for the summer, but participants plan to continue spreading the word for the fall. “We hope to continue the project as long as there are quilters who are interested in taking part,” said McKay. “We were expecting some support and ended up being blown away by the enthusiasm and dedication.”