Update – This program has now ended. This is the final post.
The last shipments from Western North Carolina, Charlotte, Raleigh and Fayetteville were sent at the later part of August and the beginning of September. I am delighted to report that as of now, 543 quilts have been delivered to the Catholic Charities office. There will be one more run by runner Lori Milsap going from the Cotton Fields Quilt shop in Washington, NC coastal area to Wilmington in October. I think Lori has quilted 2 dozen quilts for this this project! Ready for a virtual quilt show? First up, my friend Val Reynolds quilted this top pieced by Deb Wheeler, and expertly shown by precious Jackson. Val shipped it to Wilmington.
My Raleigh runner, Laura Suich, was in Scotland for the entire month of August, so Julianne at Cary Quilting stepped in to help. She collected 50 quilts, and generously took them herself to Fayetteville for pickup by that runner to get them to Wilmington.
Runner Emily Leachman collected 32 quilts from Quilt Patch Fabrics in Matthews (Charlotte area) and took them over to Fayetteville. Quilts filled the back, and the back seat. Large quilts take up a bit of space.
The amazing Dee Dee Liles at Loving Stitches in Fayetteville agreed to hold quilts from Cary and Charlotte for us, as well as the ones she collected from her customers for the final pickup. Runner Sallie Minnich made her last run to Fayetteville to get all these quilts, and took them to the Catholic Charities.
She told me it took her big SUV to get all 82 of them to Wilmington.
Quilts and more quilts, stuffed full, front and back.
After this delivery, I heard from Jo-El that things were moving really slowly. She wrote “Most of our families are still waiting for homes to go back to We’re still case managing and advocating for them to try to move the process along, but ultimately, they’re at the will of their apartment complexes and the entire area is in a housing crisis.” She sent me two articles from local newspapers reporting that some of the most heavily damaged apartments for low income housing still have not been repaired, and the owners were selling the properties. Still another is asking for rents to double to cover the costs of repairs, putting them out of reach to the previous residents. And yet another is just closed, with no work at all being done. In the midst of all this, another hurricane was on the way.
I picked up the last quilts from Beginnings, which included a bunch from Cruso Friendship Quilters along with several more from individual quilters.
Those were added to the previous pick up, plus some delivered by friends in guilds.
The last shipment filled my car’s back seat…
and the trunk. My dear friend Carin Rupp put these in her moving van and took them to Wilmington with her as she moved there. They were delivered to the charity office mere days before Dorian came up the coast.
The stories coming out of Wilmington are both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. From Michele Yanicak, Disaster Case Manager for New Hanover & Columbus Counties: “In Columbus county, 30 mattresses and quilts were given out to hurricane survivors who hadn’t had beds to sleep in for almost eight months. Every survivor got to pick out their own quilt and they were so excited, especially when we told them that they were handmade for them. Getting their quilt really made a difference in their recovery and I think for a lot of people made them feel very loved and supported.”
In the meantime, more quilts were mailed to Wilmington, including these two pieced by Becky McNeely and quilted by Carol Steely.
This story from Daniela Vereau, Disaster Case Manager for Bladen, Brunswick, & Pender Counties illustrates the importance of caring, one small family at a time: “One of my families in Pender County lost their home to the storm. Shortly after they also lost a member of the family, Mommy. Daddy and his little girl moved in with grandpa and grandma while they built a new house and decided this was as good a time as any to get the two year old her first big-girl bed. Not only were we able to help with a brand new mattress, we sent her home with a set of sheets and a gorgeous hand-made quilt in yellows and pinks because mommy loved pink and she loves “yewwow”.”
This lovely queen size quilt was made by Christine Brant and quilted by Becky Harbour.
At the beginning of September, this is what we had delivered in Wilmington, and it was a good thing we did. These quilts were ready when the area was hit yet again. I asked Jo-El about damage from Dorian, and she wrote “It wasn’t too much of a heartache for us, the Outer Banks are very devastated though. We were able to move a good bit of quilts last week, with Dorian moving into the area. Some clients we haven’t been able to make contact with in months came in, as well as new Florence clients.” I cannot imagine being devastated by Florence, try to come back when housing is still not available and then do it all over again with Dorian!! But they all got a quilt to help them through this awful time, thanks to your help.
Jo-El sent this message to everyone who had any part in the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project – “The quilts that have been made, that we’ve been privileged to give to survivors, mean more than people think. They’re a sense of safety, their brightness inspires hope, and they give comfort. In a situation where so many are still fighting to rebuild, a quilt gives them a reminder to keep going. We thank you for all you’ve done for our survivors, and all the warmth your quilts will continue to provide them on their road to recovery. In the days before Dorian was scheduled to impact our coastline, we were able to serve roughly 200 families in two days, many of who were going to be seeking Emergency Shelter at our local schools. Some of our Florence survivors came back to us, who we hadn’t seen in months and we received updates on their situations and cases. Those returning survivors were also the ones most likely to be seeking shelter and those shelters require you bring your own bedding, hygiene items, and pillows. We were able to let them leave with a quilt to take to the shelter, so that while the night was long and full of tornado sirens, they had something to wrap up with and remind them to keep hoping. That quilt reminded them that someone was there for them, be it Catholic Charities, Endeavors Disaster Case Management, NC Emergency Management, the United Way, or even you (meaning all of you readers!) – the quilter who loved enough to give their time and energy to give someone else comfort. This project was and continues to be amazing. You’ve touched over 500 lives (we received over 500 quilts), and those lives are forever changed because of the kindness of a stranger. Thank you all for loving our survivors.”
The charity will take quilts all the way through 2020, so yes, you can still ship quilts if you like. The runner program has ended. Bookmark this page so you can find the address if you need it in 2020. Ship to the address below –
Carolina Hurricane Project
c/o Catholic Charities
20 N. 4th Street, Suite 300
Wilmington, NC 28401
At this point my involvement with the project is done. Thank you to everyone that was a part of this year-long effort to help the victims of disaster in my home state.