News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 12, 2017
Community helps support hurricane aid

The stitching process

Nancy Knowlton begins the stitching process on a quilt.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

When tragedy strikes, the silver lining seems to be the way it brings people from near and far together to work toward a common goal. Such can be said about Kelly Pratt and a group of dedicated quilters who worked ’round the clock over three days last week to produce quilts to send to hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“There has already been 17 people who have come to help us make the quilts, and I know of plenty more who are planning on coming through,” said Pratt on October 6, the second day of the three-day quilt-a-thon.

In addition to people going in and out of the Sunshine Advent Church to help out with quilts, Pratt said that volunteers also brought in food for those taking part in the event, so as not to be interrupted in their quilting process.

“I don’t think we’ve had to leave for meals once,” she said.

In addition to food, all of the fabric used to make the quilts was donated by community members.

Each day of the quilt-a-thon began at 8 a.m., and quilters were able to work until 8 p.m. Some quilted throughout the entire 12 hours, while some volunteers came in for a couple hours at a time, assisting with stitching and organization.

“There’s a job for everybody,” said Nancy Knowlton, one of the participants throughout the three days. “From quilting to ironing, we have a job for whoever wants to help out.”

For Janet Griffin, the quilt-a-thon also served as a way to meet people in the community.

“I came because I saw in the newspaper that it was going on,” she said. “We’re building a house in Stonington, and it’s been nice getting to know these great ladies.”

Pratt said that events like this are important because it brings awareness of just how much people are willing to help when disaster strikes.

“There are so many people in need [after the hurricanes], it’s nice to be able to give them something they can physically hold onto,” she said.

While the quilt-a-thon was spread out over three days, Pratt said that people are welcome to bring quilts they have made at home throughout this week. She added that a final showing of the quilts will be advertised for this coming weekend.

“It’s a community effort,” she said. “It doesn’t end with just the people who show up to make quilts here. Some are island natives, some from out of town or even state. It’s a diverse group of people who make this happen.”

The next step is to get the quilts in the necessary hands so that they can get to those in need. While that plan has not been set yet, Pratt said she has no concerns about it happening.

“When we did this for Katrina, it just seemed that the quilts ended up exactly where they needed to go,” she said. “I have no doubt that will happen this time around.”

In the groove

Bonnie Heanssler, left, and Sonia Douglass busily work on their latest quilts.

Photo by Monique Labbe
The stitching process

Nancy Knowlton begins the stitching process on a quilt.

Photo by Monique Labbe
Almost a quilt

This quilt needs to be stitched together before completion.

Photo by Monique Labbe