I just completed this Disappearing 9 Patch quilt, which is the design of the month for the quilts that the Lake Gaston Piecemakers Quilt Guild will be making during the month of February as part of our Outreach program. The quilts that we make will all go to Madeline's House, a local crisis center and safe house for victims of domestic abuse.
I went to the store for this organization where they raise money by accepting donations of household items and reselling them, much like the Goodwill Industries store. I marched up to the desk and announced that my guild was considering donating to Madeline's House if MH thought our quilts would be useful or welcome there. I asked if I could visit the shelter and how many women and children were there. And I was met with dead silence.
It turns out that I had committed a faux pas -- big time! These people take the security of their shelter very seriously. One cannot be invited to see it or even to know its address. There are human beings there who fear for their lives and have had to abandon all they held dear just to escape an abusive environment and somehow survive.
While the lady at the desk continued to stare me down -- in a kind way -- it dawned on me that I had been horribly presumptuous. I felt slow witted and foolish, and when I recovered my dignity somewhat, I asked to speak to someone who could discuss the shelter and its needs with me. I was ushered into the back collecting area, where a small and very energetic lady was working. She told me about Madeline's House and was delighted to think that we would single it out for such a warm and comforting donation. She said, "You have to understand -- they come to us with nothing."
At that point I was almost in tears. I promised her that we would come up with whatever number of quilts they needed to give one to every person there in February, and if possible, to continue to provide new quilts for newcomers the rest of the year. I hadn't checked this out with the guild -- I was just so touched by their plight. It seemed the least we could do. And when they felt safe to leave, they could take the quilt with them as a momento of the beginning of their new life.
If there are others of you out there who would like to donate quilts or cash to Madeline's, the office number is (434)292-1077. They need everything from toilet paper to combs, soup to nuts.