By Christine Galeone, Contributing Writer
Grafton– There’s something so endearing about a quilt. Even though each of its squares has its own unique charm and beauty, when they’re joined together, their impact is multiplied. They create a colorful harmony that can tell a story.
In the case of the Crazy Quilters of Grafton, life has been imitating art. For the past few years, the group – which meets at The Baptist Church of Grafton and has members from Grafton and surrounding towns – has devoted much time and energy to helping residents of Abby’s House, a nonprofit Worcester-based shelter for homeless women and children. The group’s story is one of faith, friendship and compassion.
For the Christmas season, the group gave the shelter 103 handmade pillowcases and around 75 handmade bags filled with things such as candy, personal care items, gloves, socks, tissues and journals, as well as toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste and dental floss that Dr. Tina Theroux – a Grafton dentist – added to the donations. The group also used half of its October quilt show proceeds to purchase 40 gift cards for shelter residents and to make a cash donation to the shelter.
Founded in 2011 by The Baptist Church of Grafton congregation members Janice King and Diane Libbey, the group consists of about 20 active members from the church and the community. With varying levels of experience, members come together in a friendly atmosphere for field trips to area quilt shops and shows, UFO (unfinished objects) gatherings and more. “The group meets monthly at the church,” said Janice King, the group’s administrator. “We learn quilting techniques, share ideas, and have worked on the Abby’s House project together.”
That project was started after Joanne St. Germain attended the Crazy Quilters’ first quilt show in September 2015 and was motivated to join the group. St. Germain – who manages the project – felt inspired, during the holiday season, to help women who were in need and doing what they could to help themselves.
“I contacted Jean (Anger, the volunteer coordinator) at Abby’s House to find out the needs of the women and approached the quilt group at our monthly meeting about making tote bags and filling them with personal items,” St. Germain recalled. “Their response was amazing. The first year, we made 35 bags and filled them…”
Since then, the project has grown. The members even recruited some of their friends to assist them in making the 103 pillowcases they donated to the shelter. Members of the congregation also supported the project by donating antique quilts to the quilt show. St. Germain said that the most gratifying part of the project was the “outpouring of caring” from everyone who participated in it.
And she was able to witness the impact of that compassion.
“When we delivered the bags, many of the ladies at the shelter personally thanked us, so I know firsthand what this means to them,” St. Germain shared. “Going forward into 2019, I just want this project to remain heart lifting and a caring event that we all enjoy.”
King couldn’t agree more. She said that the group intends to keep the project going. King, St. Germain and the rest of the Crazy Quilters will continue to stitch together a patchwork of faith, friendship and compassion to bring warmth and cheer to brave women who are stitching their lives back together.