Monday, May 2, 2011

Quilts for Brisbane, Queensland

Yesterday I boxed up more quilts and sent off 10 boxes containing 85 quilts, knitted blankets, beanies, scarves, baby and toddler clothes, and cloth tote bags . They are all on their way to Brisbane where they will be donated to people who have lost their homes in the recent floods in Qld. Thanks to a recent donation of 63 quilts from Gladys Schwarz and the Dimboola quilters I had enough quilts ready to send up with a truck and they were added to other quilts I'd finished as well as lots of knitted items I'd either received or made from donated yarn.
I plan on getting another shipment ready as soon as possible as the need is great and will be for some time.
I've included a report here from people who went out with the food vans which feed the homeless in Brisbane. They were there to give out donated warm garments of blankets, hats, scarves, gloves etc and the people were so grateful that the knitted garments were more popular than the food.
We arrived before the food vans but there were still lines of homeless waiting patiently for the food vans. Within minutes the blankets, knee rugs that we had taken were all gone, with beanies going nearly as fast.
We were able to speak with some of the homeless at length (when we weren't helping others find what they wanted), and heard some more amazing stories!! Some of them that were there last night are actually flood victims...most had been renting, lost all their possessions, but hard as they try, can't find more rental accommodation. One lady, her hubby and 2 children told us how they had applied for over....300...rental properties since the floods, and have been knocked back every time. They have "worn out their welcome" at relatives and friends, so now the four of them are living in their car, having to move on every time the police come along and tell them to move on!
All they wanted was to get a couple of rugs for the children...which fortunately we were able to do that and give them all some beanies, a jumper for each of the children etc. They were so grateful.

Another man in his mid 50's told us he had just had 2 days paid work, but he wouldn't get that money until end of next week. Every day he "knocks on doors" looking for more work. He had been living in a boarding house but when they put up the rent to $200 per week, just for a room, a bed with a "flea infested mattress", shared toilet and bathroom he couldn't afford it so moved out!! He was thrilled to be able to get a second hand sleeping bag that had been donated to us. He was going to go last night and sleep at the beach now he had a sleeping bag because "I don't like being around lots of people and all the parks, etc around Brisbane are just getting too crowded with homeless, so the beach is going to be great!!"...But all he really wants is a job that is for longer than a couple of days!! He is willing to do anything he said, even clean toilets, but he keeps getting knock backs even though he goes to 139 Club as often as he can so he can wash his clothes, have a shower etc, so he looks presentable to possible employers!

Then when I was helping one young man choose a beanie and some socks, he said that a lot of the homeless have been looking for us for weeks!! Sure enough, about 10 minutes later a new group walked in, came straight to where we were, didn't worry about the food that was on offer!!

Over 500 donations went within 3/4 hour!! Each and every one of them thanked us so much....but also told us "you will need heaps and heaps of blankets at Homeless Connect". A lot of them were "new to being homeless" and couldn't believe what we do and give away to "someone like me"!!
How blessed are we that we are able to bring comfort to so many people just by doing what we love- whether it's by making QAYG blocks, making a quilt top, making a complete quilt or knitting a beanie, or a scarf. Everything we make and donate is so appreciated that it makes it very easy for me to keep making the quilts and getting them out there where they are needed. Thank you all for working with me with this quilt appeal. The first 2 quilts shown are from the Kyvalley quilters and will be going out with the next delivery. The QAYG quilt was one I finished yesterday and is on its way to Brisbane and the last quilt is one of the 63 made and donated by the Dimboola quilters. Thank you all for all your support and I pray that the communities which have been so badly damaged by tornadoes in the US will also receive help and comfort from quilters there.
Love, Jan Mac


  1. It's terrific to get such feedback. Cherrie

  2. Thanks for sharing the story, Jan. What you do is amazing.

  3. What a lovely story - thank you for sharing -
    I've asked the Christchurch girls for more stories and photos of what it is like down there at the moment.
    Quilted up 4 of the tops you sent me yesterday and will post photos of them once done. Have done a blog post on the knitted items which will go to Christchurch today.

  4. Jan i took the time to read the whole story this morning and i was shocked and saddened by it, then elated that yourself and others are doing so much to try to ease the chill a little. There's nothing like stories direct from those involved.

  5. Thankyou for sharing these people's stories Jan, and for all the work you continue to do!!!

  6. You are an Angel, Jan. I was so shocked and distressed to read about the poor people in Qld who have nothing after all this time. I've just written a post on my blog about what you are doing, so I hope even more people will know about you, and care enough to donate some time and effort to your causes. I want to, but I'm not going to promise, in case my good intentions get swept away by other stuff going on in my life right now.
    Bless you, and lots of {{hugs}}