Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project Wrap Up

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.

Val:DebWheeler:Jackson

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.

Julianne at Cary 50

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.

Emily'sPickup2

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.

LovStit1

She told me it took her big SUV to get all 82 of them to Wilmington.

LovStit3

Quilts and more quilts, stuffed full, front and back.

LovStit2

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.

Begns:CrusoFriendshipQ

Those were added to the previous pick up, plus some delivered by friends in guilds.

Last remaining

The last shipment filled my car’s back seat…

Quilts Loaded

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.

Quilts Loaded trunk

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.

Becky McNeely:Carol Steely2
Becky McNeely:Carol Steely1

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.

BeckyHarbour

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.

CathCharAugust

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.  The FAQ page – Carolina Hurricane Quilts – will remain up until December. 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.

28 thoughts on “Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project Wrap Up

  1. An amazing result from your followers!! It is so heartwarming to know there is so much love in our world, and so many quilters who are so willing to wrap a stranger in a quilt made with love. Thanks for leading the charge and for all your organizing. The Queen Bee’s were happy to send a quilt. I keep making blocks when I have a few minutes and know that they will eventually “add up” into another for future needs. You started an amazing project and it quickly grew into such a huge event with a wonderful outcome.

    1. S.G.- what a good idea to keep making blocks. If I am ever able to get back to the machine, I will continue to make blocks to have on hand for another need. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Thank you for this update. I hope to share some of this news with our quilt group. Our quilts were mailed in June or July (am trusting they arrived), so I’d like to share a bit more with our group. Thanks for all your work on this, Carole!

  3. Joan Sheppar

    “heartbreaking and heartwarming” I cried and giggled all through the article – the little girl with her yewwow quilt! And these are so beautiful loved the paper pieced Penguin peeking out of the truck. So much love. Thanks for passing the love around.

  4. You and all of your helpers certainly have touched the lives of so many that were impacted by the Hurricanes in Carolina. But you stepped up to inspire, motivate, and make it happen. Bless you. And thanks for the reminder and address, as it is good to know that quilts can still be donated thru 2020 directly to Catholic Charities. I have a quilt that is close to being finished and I want to ship out in October.

  5. Mary Stori

    What a stunning success…..kuddos to you for spearheading so much of this project and all the other volunteers that made it happen. It’s been said so many times before….but worth repeating….Quilters are the best!!!

  6. Melanie

    What a heart-wrenching situation for so many families, but so uplifting to see the volunteer and lovingly made quilts to give hugs and hope to those families. Thank you for all your good work, Carole. You are amazing. I think you have super powers. LOL Hugs, Melanie

  7. I was humbled just looking at the pictures of your and other’s generosity and compassion. Quilters are among the most generous people on the planet. I can only imagine the gratitude of families affected by weather-related tragedy. Well done, Carole….thank you for sharing.

  8. farmquilter

    Just look at the impact you had on so many lives! Those poor people who had their lives devastated by the storms and the quilters who donated quilts…both got to feel good by giving and receiving quilts that were made with love!

  9. I can only imagine the love those quilts gave with every stitch. The quilter giving part of her time, part of her soul, and part of her love to a complete stranger. And the destitute strangers, at a very bad time in their life are comforted and supported with the love of fibers over their shoulders and backs, giving them hugs and warmth just at the time they need to know humanity is not as. bad as the news reports! Amazing! Wonderful!

  10. Fantastic effort from you and your fellow quilters, bringing joy and comfort to people who have had and in some cases are continuing to have a terrible experience. Well done.

  11. Phyllis Smith

    Hi Carole, Loved the log cabin quilt by Christine Brandt it’s my favorite. So many beautiful quilts. I know they will all be cherished and loved each time they are used. You mountain gals are such great ladies and all though you never get to see who gets them you have a wonderful love to share, you all will be so blessed.
    Phyllis Smith

  12. Hands and hearts, love with stitches, and then a quilt for comfort. This is amazing, and to know more are needed, how do those families manage to continue. There will be so many thanks to everyone who contributed in any way, an amazing number of quilts by the car load.

    1. Joan Sheppar

      Sadly we keep on quilting because Mother Nature goes into a snit on a regular basis. Our group sews for children in a nursing home. It always takes me a minute to let those words sink in.

  13. Janice Snell

    Congratulations!! You must be so thrilled and proud. Truly amazing what a community of quilts can do for others. If only houses could be quilted.

  14. Joan

    Just got back from the grocery store where I saw I wall hanging, small wooden board with the following:
    “Sometimes the things we take for granted are the things others are praying for.” Yep – a warm place to lay your head and a quilt to throw over your shoulder. Thanks again everyone who made these fabulous gifts.

  15. Jen

    Thank you for coordinating this and to all the volunteers who helped us quilters give back to the community. It made my day to read about the positive impact this is having on people who have had such a difficult time.

  16. thedarlingdogwood

    Carole, you are amazing!!!! This has been such a tremendous undertaking and I have loved being a part of it. Thank you for organizing everything, and I’m so glad that 500+ families know that someone cares!

  17. Oh my little guy looks good on your blog!! SMILES!!! This post is so inspiring!! The generosity of quilters just makes me smile and fills my heart with joy. Thanks for organizing this wonderful event Carole:)

Due to the volume of comments during Autumn Jubilee, I am unable to personally respond to each one. Thank you for commenting! I read each and every one.

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