Well it's time for another update and the tally of distributed quilts is growing rapidly now. Yesterday, Rhonda Coates and I gave out another 265 quilts in the Kinglake area. We visited the Kinglake West Primary School and we had the quilts already sorted into age groups. We put the quilts in each of the class rooms and the children were allowed to select a quilt. They were so excited and very happy with them as it was cold and rainy there yesterday.
I told the children that the quilts were meant as a hug from quilters all around Australia and the world. I was in the junior girl's room and they all wanted to give me a hug back for you. They were so cute and one of the teachers insisted on taking a photo of me with the girls. I had about 30 girls clutching their quilts all trying to get as close as possible. A couple of the preps sat on my knee and Ray tells me you could hardly see me for the crowd and the quilts.One of the little girls was very seriously explaining where her younger siblings go to day care so they could get a quilt too. She gave lots of hand directions and instructions to "look for the big house with writing". I think I'll need more instructions before I actually find them but she was very cute and very earnest. Lots of kids came up to say thank you without even being prompted by the teachers.
We also gave the school support staff a quilt and they spent even longer over their selection than the children did. There were even two student teachers in the classes and they chose a quilt as they had lost their homes as well. The adults were all so impressed with all the work that had gone into the quilts and one commented that she was now inspired to try quilting herself and so the passion spreads! LOL We also gave 80 quilts to the Kinglake kinder and they have asked for more for the childcare group when they are able to rebuild in a few months.
As we left the school one of the young mum's came past with her kinder children and she asked if we would be able to spare a quilt for her neighbour as she had lost her home. Of course we said yes and she chose a lovely quilt for her. She commented that as many are living in caravans they are very grateful for the warmth as well as the gesture. We got more hugs then and left more happy faces. It was raining but she didn't want to rush off until she'd given us a hug and said thank you on her neighbour's behalf.
Next we moved on to the Middle Kinglake Primary School and gave out more quilts for some of the teachers to pass on to families who had lost their homes. We still need more large quilts for them so we'll be going back there ASAP. We were also asked about quilts for the teens and other
members of the community so we are going to be working with the local communities to access more people with the quilts. There was a TV crew filming a concert there at the time so we couldn't get all the info at the time from the principal.
We took a break at the Kinglake bakery for lunch at 2pm and then Rhonda took some quilts to give to the Vet and a couple of other people who have lost their homes, while Ray and I went to Kinglake Primary School. We left 5 more quilts with them for adults who had lost their homes.
While we were there we met one of the social workers for the area and she spoke so ncouragingly about what the quilts had meant for the communities. She said that we have given them hope again and I'm getting goose bumps while I type this as it was very moving. The word is getting
out there and although they've been given many things the fact that people have taken so much time to make a special gift has really touched their hearts. I left my phone number with her so I can send her quilts as she finds people who have lost their homes and are ready to accept a quilt.
Rhonda also had a lovely response from the people she visited and she tells me that she left a quilt for the vet, one for a nurse and four for the other nurse who lost her house and has her eldery mother living with them as her house was burnt too. She said the vet must be doing it
hard and the vet nurses are working as volunteers as the business wouldn't be making money as many of the animals are no longer there. They are still having cats brought in which were found in the bush with quite a few successful reunions, but now they have some unwanted kittens
that they have to find homes for. The kittens will have been desexed and vaccinated so if you are able to adopt a kitten please consider taking one of these animals who have survived so much. I expect a few will be named Phoenix!! Wish I could take one but timing is not good for me at
Rhonda also called at the florist and left boxes of fabrics, patterns etc to be given to local sewing groups. She was told about a lady from the USA who had lost her house in fires over there and whose husband was a fireman. She wanted her quilt to go to a fireman and Rhonda was able
to give the quilt to a girl who lost both her house and her fireman husband in the fires, so it was meant to be. Rhonda also dropped another six quilts for a number of people in Flowerdale.
We felt very proud to represent you by ensuring that the quilts are getting where they will be used by the children, as well as the people who lost their homes. One of the adults commented that the harsh reality of the tragedy is starting to hit them now and they will be doing it tough with the cold and wet when living in a caravan on their home site. Some have left the district temporarily and they are making sure that the quilts get to them. I have another 5 to post off today to a family who have relocated to Melbourne, and we will need to rely on the word of
mouth to reach many people.
Please take some time to reflect on the incredibly generous donations that you've made and be assured that they are making a difference. I know some of you have been disappointed when giving a quilt as a gift for a 21st etc, as not everyone appreciates quilts but these people really do and it was very heart warming to see the older boys wrapped in their quilts when we left. The teachers were very surprised at the boys' reactions as they thought they'd be "too cool" to be excited about a quilt.
Please keep the quilts coming as we are in need of more boys quilts and large ones for the adults. I hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day on Sunday and take some time to count your blessings. I know that I will be. I'll send an update about the donations received as a separate email.
Hugs Jan Mac