As families in Fort McMurray prepare to return to their homes, some of them will be returning with a piece of Nakusp.
The Nakusp Quilt Club has sent quilts of various sizes and styles to families from the city.
“I got an email from Emily Rollins saying there was a website called Quilts for Fort Mac,” said Linda Hamilton, one of the members of the club. “She was suggesting that we get together. We always do charity quilts, and we thought it would be great, considering what was happening in Fort McMurray, to send these quilts.”
Quilts for Fort Mac was created by Berkeley’s Place, a non-profit organization based out of Edmonton, AB.
Finding the quilts was easy. Getting them to Edmonton was a little trickier.
Luckily, Hamilton has a son in the city, and since she was going to be visiting him and her grandchildren, it was decided that the quilts would go with her.
In total, 37 quilts have been sent to families affected by the fires.
This isn’t the only time the club has given quilts to those in need. They have some on hand in case a person or a family in town is burned out of their home.
Quilts are also put in police cruisers, since they are sometimes the first ones on the scene.
They’re also sent out to doctors taking part in the Doctors Without Borders program.
“Every year we send a bunch of quilts to them,” said Gay Hanson, another member of the Nakusp Quilt Club. “We have a contact in Nelson, and take them there. Usually it’s Rotary doctors, and they have a destination, one of the Third World countries where they go and do cleft palate surgery. We’ve sent an awful lot to them.”
A lot indeed. The first time they were asked if they were interested in sending a quilt, they sent 50.
Occasionally the club has workshops where a pattern is brought in, and all the members make their own quilt based on that pattern. Once completed, the quilts are donated.
The club has even done mystery quilts, where you don’t know what the quilt will look like until it’s finished.
“You get the directions one page at a time and you finish that first page, and then go to the next page,” said Hanson. “Everybody’s got different fabric, and you use it in different places, so you never know what they’re going to look like.”
It takes about a week for a twin sized quilt to be made.
While the women of the club have a lot of fun making the quilts, the thought behind them is just as important.
“We’re thinking of them, we want to help them,” said Hamilton. “They’re going through such an awful time.”
She said she couldn’t imagine being told she had ten minutes to get out of her house and not know what she would be going back to.
“It must have been terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” she said. “If you can give them something, there’s nothing better than a quilt. You know somebody’s made it, and there’s love put into it, that’s just a quilt.”