Quilts for Kids was started over twenty years ago by Diana Leone, a nationally-renowned quilter who owned The Quilting Bee in Los Altos. The group now produces approximately 600 quilts per year and passes them to local charities for distribution. Currently, children ages 4 to 12 who arrive at the San Jose Family Shelter or who require a long stay at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital are able to choose one of these quilts to keep.
"Often these kids show up at the shelter with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a teddy bear. A quilt provides a cover and comfort," explains Mountain View resident Angi Peck, a Quilts for Kids member.
The quilters have worked with other non-profits in the past and are currently looking for one additional nonprofit to partner with.
"We want a group with a contact person who believes in us and who thinks it's worth the effort to come pick up the quilts and coordinate the distribution," says Peck.
Peck makes 12 quilts per month for the group.
"I love quilting, and this way I can work at something I love and know that at the end of the week I will give my work away to someone who really needs it."
Peck, who has two sons and a daughter ,as well as three grandson, specializes in making quilts for boys such as ones with race cars, fire trucks, denim, and animals. For inspiration, she downloads patterns from the Internet. In the interest of durability and time efficiency, the quilts are sewn on a machine and are made in modern patterns since traditional patterns are too labor-intensive.
Peck has an entire room of her house devoted to quilting, including her "stash" of fabrics of almost every imaginable type and color. Some of these fabrics Peck buys with her own money at remnant sales, and others are donated by friends and community members. The group also sells their quilts once per year at the holiday bazaar at the Mountain View Senior Center to raise money for batting to stuff in the quilts.
The women in the group — Irene Ogawa, Peck, and Margaret Peterson of Mountain View, Carolyn Gulledge, Barbara Johnson, Sue Moyer, Arsella Raman, and Susan Surfleet — quilt on their own time during the week and then meet at the senior center each Friday at 1 pm for a couple of hours. Peck generally uses this time to put the finishing touches on her quilts for the week, including hand-tying them and affixing the tag that says: "Made with Love by Quilts for Kids at the Senior Center in Mountain View, CA."
Because of this tag, shelters can note when children show up with quilts made by the group, including one that a girl had been carrying around for over ten years when she arrived with it at the Bill Wilson Center.
Your old clothes can find a second life by becoming part of these quilts. You can drop off your washable cotton fabrics (including blue jeans) at the desk at the senior center. If you have some quilting experience and are interested in joining the group or are part of a non-profit that is interested in receiving quilts, call Margaret Peterson at 650-968-1266.
Mountain View resident Jennifer Pence is founder of the Windmill Giving Circle and founder and owner of Academic Springboard, a tutoring group. E-mail Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.