It’s been brewing in my heart & in my head for a little while now. . . not really sure how to go about it. . . but wanting to do it so badly. . . this little idea I’ve had.
Last autumn (2013) , I took a trip Minnesota to visit my brother (Scott) & his family. As usual, my bother & I met for lunch one day while he was at work. (I love it when we get to do that.) This time, I met him at his work. . . a new place. He had changed jobs & joined the company (a non-profit) barely over 6 months before as their CFO (Chief Financial Officer), but it became clear, just a few months into his new position, that God had other plans. For on this beautiful autumn day, I was meeting my brother - the new CEO and President. It wasn’t a position he ever dreamed of - but it became clear that God wanted him there. To look back at how it all happened - you can see God’s fingerprints all over it. To say that I’m so proud of him is such an understatement. (... & whenever Dad & I talk about it. . . let’s just say there are tears... the best kind.)
So. . . on this beautiful autumn day, as I parked in front of the seven-story building where his office was, I was struck as I approached the entrance. There was a bit of activity going on as one of the folks in the building was being taken to the hospital & there was an ambulance at the front entrance. I waited to enter until they had cleared the main doors, & as I did - this sweet gentleman - on the gurney - tried his best to smile at me & lifted his hand in weak little wave. I could tell he was trying to make me more comfortable with the situation. What a sweetheart. (When I got inside the main doors - I asked of the lady at the front desk if he was okay & she said that she thought so. . . he had caught a cold & just needed a special breathing treatment - he has asthma - & so it has happened before.)
In the lobby there are several nice sitting areas, and several folks sitting around - some gathering around the grand piano that lives there - anticipating the lunchtime & after lunch concert that would be happening that day. Some looked up in anticipation to see if I was someone they knew, & some didn’t even bother... possibly knowing that no one would be coming to visit them. As I walked on around a few corners to my brother’s office (notice, I didn’t say to the elevator - to the top floor...) & it struck me that the offices for the head executives & administrators was right in the midst of daily activities of what this company was all about... Caring for seniors. . . the elderly. . . the people that our culture, sadly, doesn’t regard with the respect that many other cultures do. The organization that my brother is now head of has eleven care & residential communities & it is their mission to provide respect & a lifestyle, home, healthcare & rehabilitative services to older adults - regardless of their income level. They take great care for their housing communities to be unlike those of the past - with dining rooms that have executive chefs (& are more like restaurants), gardens for everyone in the community to use, libraries & computers for residents to use. . . I am excited to see the future for these types of communities in our country.
I am so thankful that, for ever since I can remember, my parents made sure we had contact with senior citizens. We didn’t live near my grandparents - so the seniors in our lives were often from our church. I fondly remember Henry & Mae Parker from church. (Henry was a typewriter repair man. . . & loved to make cookies - especially for others. In San Diego he was known in the newspapers as ‘The Cookie Man’. Then there was Bud & Pat Pollock , a sweet elderly couple who lived next door to us from my grade-school years through college. (I remember when Bud - at 76 years old - fell out of the large eucalyptus tree as he was pruning it. (that was a scary day!) And now - as I have my Dad living with me - I often go with him to a few of the Senior Care facilities here in town to visit folks we have come to know from either church or from family. I’ll be honest - we are the ones that come away more blessed. Seniors have so much to offer!!!
One of the things that always strikes me though - are those folks that seem to never have someone to visit them.
For too many this is a reality.
There are no family that comes - either because they don’t live in town... or just don’t make the time to come. And, for some - most everyone they know has already passed away & they are now alone. This breaks my heart - because I can see how it affects my Dad, with every time he get news that another friend has passed away. It’s a scary time in life. . . a helpless feeling.
So. . . why do I share all of this with you?
Because, I can’t not do something. I’m not a nurse or certified care-giver. . .
. . . but I am a quilter.
I talked with Scott (my brother), & I shared with him what I was thinking of & he got tears in his eyes. (This. . . the CEO who greets the folks in their wheelchairs & walkers as he walks to his office...) Now, I know that it would be overwhelming to think that we could make a quilt for everyone there (in fact there are some folks that come to live in their communities with quite a few comforts!). . . but there are those that come with hardly anything. At first my thought was to make sure that those who are on hospice care have a quilt. (As, I think that hospice care are one of the closet things we have to angels here on earth!) But then, I’ve been thinking why stop there? There are those that have hardly anything & the gift of a quilt & the comfort it brings could touch someone’s life in ways we can’t even know. But we do know it would make a difference to that person, that life.
Now we take the first step. I’ve been making a couple of quilts with some fabrics in my stash, as well as making some quilts & putting some sample quilts on the website to help raise funds for purchasing the items (batting, thread) needed to be able to continue making as many quilts as possible. I found myself - as I was sewing, quilting, & binding the quilts - praying for whoever would either purchase the quilt, or be the recipient of the quilt - that God would bless them & bring them comfort when they need it most.
So, why do I share this with you? I would like to invite you to partner with us, to join us in our efforts to bring comfort to as many as we can with our quilts. Currently the plan to make lap size (approx. 54” x 60”) quilts, so that they can be used as a throw on a bed, a chair, as well as with a wheelchair. There are several ways you can be a part of this effort.
- help in sewing together quilt tops
- help in quilting the quilts
- help with donations of unused lap size quilts (suitable for senior adults)
- help with donations of materials (fabric, batting, thread) for use in creating quilts
- monetary donations for use in material purchases as well as shipping of quilts.
If you would like to join us in being a part of ‘Quilted Comfort’ please contact me (Bren) at firstname.lastname@example.org & I will send you more information on how you can help.
Thanks so much for caring & for considering joining with us to touch as many hearts as possible.
Brenda Riddle Designs - Acorn Quilt & Gift Company