The members of the Brooklyn Quilters Guild are generous with their time and skills. We contribute to a number of programs including ABC Quilts, Comfort Quilts, Halo Quilts, Hole in the Wall Gang Quilts, Labor of Love Quilts, LiveOn NY Organ Donor Quilts, the Ronald McDonald Pillowcase Project, and Soldier Quilts.
Jennifer Arzberger, chair of ABC Quilts, can be seen busily organizing finished quilts and quilt “sandwiches” at each monthly guild meeting. Jennifer recently instituted a member challenge to bring in orphan blocks and participate in a round-robin exchange, as a fun way to make ABC quilts with other members and challenge your creativity. Check out the ABC table for the center blocks and round-robin quilts in need of another border. Our goal is to make and contribute as many quilts as we have members each year. Last year we completed and donated 297 quilts!
Donations of both finished quilts and finished tops are welcome. Cheerful fabrics for the quilt backs are always needed, while the guild supplies the batting for the quilts. There is quite a variety of work and styles, some simple, some quite complex and beautifully done. There are no rules about what the quilts should look like – except that they should be baby or child friendly without any buttons or beads. Completed quilts are collected at each meeting for distribution to children in hospitals and other institutions.
Jennifer Arzberger, whose first quilt was a charity quilt, says, “It was a great feeling knowing that I was helping a child in need.”
Our annual “ABC Frenzy” takes place each year after the February meeting. Size requirements for the final quilts are no less than 32 inches or more than 44 inches.
In the winter of 2012, a small group of current and former Brooklyn Quilters Guild members collaborated to create and donate quilts to victims of Hurricane Sandy. We began sewing 6-inch squares from our fabric stashes into quilt tops that we had machine-quilted locally. It didn’t take long before more Guild members pitched in to create or donate quilt tops, apply bindings to finish off the machine-quilted works, stitch official BQG cloth labels to the backs of quilts, or contribute orphan blocks, squares or yardage. By September 2015, our group efforts had resulted in about 60 finished bed-size quilts for Sandy victims.
Since then we have broadened the scope of our effort to be able to maintain a ready inventory of quilts for people affected by other natural disasters or any who suffer a similar loss or tragedy. One of our most recent donations was to victims of the explosions and fires near Boston in September 2018.
The Comfort Quilts Committee accepts quilt tops or quilts at each meeting. Quilts should be a minimum of 80 inches square and a maximum of 84 by 94 inches. Packages of precut fabric squares and whole kits are often available at guild meetings to get you started. Donations of backing fabric, batting, and machine-quilting are always welcome.
The Blue Line Kids HALO, a program of the National Alliance for Law Enforcement, provides quilts to children who have lost a police officer parent in the line of duty. The goal is to create beautiful, comforting quilts that a child can hug, hold, and use during their very difficult time. The quilts should be 48 by 60 inches or larger — lap quilt to twin-sized. They should use bright colors, without any emblems or messages. In 2018, our guild members donated 50 quilts for this cause. Kathy Clarke heads the HALO quilt collection within our Guild. Donations of HALO quilts are collected at guild meetings.
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Quilts
The Hole in Wall Gang Camp is dedicated to providing “a different kind of healing” to seriously ill children and their families throughout the Northeast, free of charge. The goal is to ensure that every child with a serious medical condition has the chance to experience all the possibilities that camp has to offer. Our Brooklyn Quilters Guild members support this mission by making quilts to be given to the children who attend camp.
Labor of Love Quilts
H.O.P.S. (Helping Our Post 9/11 Survivors) is an organization that provides support to families of service members who died due to 9/11 related illnesses. The Brooklyn Quilters Guild Labor of Love committee, headed by Diane Pryor-Holland and Thadine Wormsley, support the drive by providing quilts to families who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Quilts should be no smaller than 50 by 50 inches and no larger than 80 by 80 inches. Requested fabric colors are blue and white or red, white and blue (print designs are fine). Please pin your name to your quilt so that it can be added to a label on the back, that will contain your name and the fallen officer’s name. Quilts may be delivered to Thadine or Diane at guild meetings.
LiveOn NY Organ Donor Memory Quilts
Every year, members of our Guild assemble an Organ Donor Memory Quilt for the LiveOn NY not-for-profit organization. Organ Donor Memory Quilts are a testament to organ, eye and tissue donation. Each quilt block is made by the family of an organ donor to honor the memory of their loved one and the quilt borders are embroidered with the first names of the organ recipients, expressing the circle of life that the gift of organ donation embodies. The Memory Quilts travel across the greater NY area and sometimes across the US, spreading the word about organ, eye and tissue donation. Debbie Breckenridge, Merrie Handfinger and Judith Shea work on these quilts for our guild. Please contact Debbie if you would like to participate.
Ronald McDonald Pillowcase Project
In 2010, the Brooklyn Quilters Guild began a pillowcase project with Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan, an 80 room residential facility offering an affordable place for families of children aged five through 12 who require extended treatment in NYC hospitals for cancer and other serious illnesses. The child-friendly pillowcases are sewn using cheerful fabrics and colors to bring comfort to the sick children. The Guild makes the pillowcases throughout the year for delivery each December for holiday distribution. The staff keeps the remainder for distribution as new families and children arrive.
In December, Robin Engelman, who currently heads the Pillowcase Project, delivered over 220 colorful pillowcases to the Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan. Pillowcases can be delivered to Robin at Guild meetings.
The Soldier Quilt project, chaired by Sarah Vinson, makes quilts to support veterans in need. The Brooklyn Quilters Guild has made hundreds of quilts for wounded warriors and veterans. Over the last few years, all have been donated to the Veterans Hospital here in Brooklyn.
Donations of Soldier Quilts are always welcome. They should be no smaller than 50 by 60 inches and no larger than 72 by 90 inches. Please add a signed and dated label to the back of the quilt thanking the veteran for their service. Patriotic colors are very popular but all colors are appreciated. Finished quilts can be given to Sarah Vinson at each monthly meeting.