What a busy few days as on Friday I delivered quilts to the schools affected by bushfires, and then yesterday I sorted and packed 33 boxes of jumpers, scarves, shopping bags and crocheted blankets etc for East Timor. I also attended a fundraiser for Timor as well so I haven't sewn for a couple of days and I'm missing that. I have my paid work to go to for the next few days so I'm still catching up on emails.
We had a very rewarding day on Friday as we (Rhonda Coates and I) gave out the quilts you'd all spent so much time on. We'd packed the car the day before and I had 180 quilts with even the roof rack carrying some. I couldn't put them in boxes or we wouldn't have been able to fit so many in the car.
Rhonda gave a very good report and we can tell you that the kids were very excited and loved their quilts. The quilts were laid out in sizes according to their age groups and then each grade came in and chose a quilt for themselves. I was helping and a boy chose one with pandas and his mate was looking for one which would be similar. Together they found one, probably from the same quilter, and they were both very happy. There were no disputes as the kids were just happy to choose one which "spoke" to them. The boys were as keen as the girls and it was great to have so many for the boys to choose from without florals etc. The kids prints were a big hit with the younger kids and they were all clutching them during the assembly. The teachers were also asked to select a quilt from the QS ones we'd taken and they were so happy with them. One of the teachers has tried to make a quilt and they all realized just how much work had gone into them and they were exclaiming at all the work in piecing them as well as the quilting. They said they felt they didn't deserve one as others were worse off, but you could see the strain on their faces and they spoke of the tension they'd been under. These teachers have had the hard work of supporting their family as well as the school community and they have all had a very difficult time as they see signs of the bushfire ravages, every day as they live there. A couple of the teachers have lost their homes as well and they were as exited as the kids when they realized that we had large quilts for them.One said "Oh here's a purple one. I love purple", and another teacher took a large black and white one as that was "her colours".
The kids were just great to watch but we didn't take any photos other than at the school sign as we didn't want to intrude. Take it from me they were all very grateful and understood that it was a gift from our hearts from across Australia as well as from around the world. Even my DH, Ray, said he now gets why I work so hard at making and distributing these quilts.
We still have the little preppy boy in our minds as he struggled to hold onto his quilt. The principal and I folded it for him to make it easier to carry and he was reluctant to let it out of his grip. The kids at the middle school helped us to empty my car as the quilts were just stacked in the car so we could fit more in. We appointed two kids to count them but we all got a bit lost with the totals as they all became a bit overwhelmed at the sight of so many beautiful quilts for them, so we did another count when they were all inside.
These kids had only moved into their new school on Monday so the teachers there had also been under a great deal of strain as they try to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. Unfortunately there was no time to stop and chat until the last school as we were racing against the rainclouds to get the quilts inside. When it rained it really bucketed down so we were very relieved that we'd got the quilts under cover.
We have started with the schools, as that is the best way to get the quilts to the kids. The principals have put aside quilts for the kids who have been relocated elsewhere and they will follow up with them. We will also be going back to the schools so they can pass quilts on to other families in the area. We were lucky that some of the families came to the last school we visited, to pick the children up and we had enough quilts to give those younger children a quilt as well. We want to give their parents a quilt too but need to replenish the stacks of quilts again before we can give more.
So ladies we were very proud to represent you and give out so many beautiful quilts to the people who are really in need of a quilt hug. We do need a lot more of course, especially the larger sizes and QS. The cot sized quilts will be given to a kindergarten for the younger kids so all sizes will be used.
I also gave out hugs to the teachers as they just wanted to thank you all and I hope they get time to rest and regroup during these school holidays.
I'll add photos to the blogs ASAP.
Many thanks to all of you for your very tireless work and generous donations. Also Australian Air Express, Fastway Couriers and Linfox who have brought quilts to us from interstate.
Now I'm back to the sewing machine to try to get another quilt put together before work.
Hugs Jan Mac
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