MEMBERS of Mount Gambier’s Pine Tree Quilters were saddened when they learnt children on the Limestone Coast taken into state care often had no possessions other than the clothes they were wearing at the time.
Inspired to use their creative skills to make a difference, they have helped turn the trend around in a touching way by making more than 300 quilts over the past five years, which have been donated to ac.care staff to give to children.
“All the children placed by ac.care with foster carers or in residential care homes are given one of the donated quilts, which become their own and stay with them, wherever they go,” ac.care foster care placement support worker Michael King said.
“Depending on the age of the child, we always look through the donated quilts to find a match when we place a child.”
ac.care is also supported by Mount Gambier Quilting Grannies with valued ongoing donations of quilts to support children in care on the Limestone Coast.
The Pine Tree Quilters recently delivered a diverse selection of another 30 bright quilts to the regional social welfare agency, featuring fabric emblazoned with images of dinosaurs, unicorns and other creatures suitable for younger children and others suitable for older children.
“It is lovely to hear the stories of how much the quilts mean in children’s lives, such as one little boy who would only talk while cuddling his quilt,” project coordinator Kaye Dalgarno said.
“We have heard of adults using the images on the quilts to play eye spy with a child to help them become settled at bedtime and the quilt can add to their sense of belonging in a home.”
Quilter Sandra Rae said it was heartbreaking to hear that for some children, the quilt was their first possession.
She has used fabric and wadding donated by a Mount Gambier business and from individuals to create many of the quilts.
A label is added to each quilt with room for the addition of a child’s name.
Ms Rae said each quilt was a “community effort”, with different women involved in various stages of the creation.
“We started this as a one-off project and then realised how needed it was and have just continued for five years,” Pine Tree Quilters president Julie Ricketts said.
“One day we hope the staff at ac.care will call to say they do not need any more quilts as no more children are going into care, but sadly we realise that is probably never going to happen.”
The quilts are valued at over $150 each when materials, including the wool wadding inside each quilt and labour are taken into consideration.
The quilters have also made donations for the Ryder Cheshire Foundation, Royal Flying Doctor Service and Riding for the Disabled and worked with other groups to teach skills during the creation.
Pine Tree Quilters has around 40 members and meets on the first and third Wednesday evening and first and third Thursday morning of each month at the trotting clubrooms at the Mount Gambier Showgrounds, with new members always welcome, regardless of quilting experience.
Contact Ms Dalgarno on 0409 212 684 to become involved with the club or making quilts.