Charity quilt donations a bright spot in recipients’ lives

Published 8:51 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gratitude abounded at the Pamlico River Quilters’ Guild’s annual charity quilt luncheon Wednesday.

Once a year, representatives from organizations such as, this year, Ridgewood Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Coastal Pregnancy Center, Community Home Care & Hospice, River Trace Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Vidant Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House meet with local quilters at the Grace Harwell Martin Senior Center to receive the gift of lap blankets, baby blankets, quilted bags and more, each stitched by a member of the guild.

It’s a tradition that started long ago — farther back than any of the current quilters can remember — and is just one way the guild donates to the community. They’re also known for donating one of their creations to local nonprofits to raffle off.

They continue the tradition because their donations make such a difference in the lives of those who become their owners, according to representatives from the receiving organizations.

River Trace’s Jerome Word said the quilts help cheer up the nursing home’s residents.

“You bring in a nice, bright quilt up and they start talking; they start socializing. It means a lot to our residents,” Word said.

Community Home Care & Hospice social worker Essie Hedgebeth agreed, especially for patients with dementia. She said the quilts give patients a hands-on activity to enjoy, which translates to increased quality of life at a time when life is ending.

At the other end of life’s spectrum, the donated quilts have just as much impact on children, according to Jessica Garris, with Vidant’s PICU: “It helps put a smile on a kid’s face who’s been going though sickness and pain in the hospital. It brings them some joy.”

At Coastal Pregnancy Center, when new moms complete their parenting classes, they get to pick out a quilt for their child to come, according to Diann Otten.

“They are so excited to have one of these beautiful quilts for their babies; it makes them so excited for the birth of their babies,” Otten said. “They’re also so grateful for the women who have made these — it just brings them such joy.”

Quilters’ Guild members estimated between 80 and 100 quilts were made and donated for the charity quilt luncheon this year.