Saturday was the Quilting For Calgary delivery day. And what a day it was. It kicked off with the requisite speeches by organizers and politicians. A wonderful send off for volunteers, really. My favourite quote came from Naheed Nenshi, our mayor," It's not the sandwiches or the quilts, it's about knowing that people care."
And that is where quilters showed their mettle. Over 1350 quilts were donated that day. Fabric, quilt tops, completed quilts, and countless hours to get all that done. From all over the world quilters sent in hugs made from quilts. And let me tell you, every last one of them is appreciated.
The first person to get a quilt that day was actually Mayor Nenshi. His tireless leadership and commitment to the community was recognized in this #napfornenshi quilt. You see, he went for a few days straight without any sleep during the height of the flood. At one point #napfornenshi became a rally cry and trending topic on Twitter. The man deserved some rest! So Bernadette Kent at Traditional Pastimes created this quilt for him. The front is an improv piece that includes images of the flood, copies of tweets and hashtags, and even his famous quote about the Darwin Law.
The name of the local longarmer who quilted it escapes me right now, I'm sorry. All I can remember is an L. Bernadette says that the quilt really comes from all the quilters. A wonderful sentiment.
The back of the quilt is a representation of the Quilting For Calgary logo. (Made from a slab). Here is the mayor with Bernadette (above) and Bev Rogan (below). Bev is the local quilter who spearheaded the Quilting For Calgary efforts.
Then it was time to deliver the quilts. This is just some of the quilts. Each table had 70-80 quilts on it and there were 16 tables, I think. Each table was loaded into a vehicle destined for a flood ravaged community in the city. It was an awesome sight to see the quilts all together like this. And to see the room filled with volunteers ready to go out into the city.
It's been 12 weeks since the flood and no doubt people are tired. There is such a thing as donor fatigue. But quilters are rallying folks. As are the people at Mission Possible who coordinated so much of the delivery day.
Once the vehicles were loaded volunteers headed to their designated communities. Dumpsters and signs of construction are still evident all over the city. Mud still cakes some sidewalks, planters, BBQs, and curbs. Many homes are empty or homeowners are living in the shell, no means or time to get the rebuilding done.
Quilts in arm they started ringing doorbells. This included my two girls (with the The Garbage Truck supervising from the stroller). My girls insisted on helping and this makes their Mama very proud.
We got through all the streets in our designated neighbourhood. Unfortunately, many people weren't home. Many residents didn't quite understand that these quilts were essentially free hugs. It was one thing to have strangers come clean the muck or give you a meal, quite another to have them hand you a quilt and want nothing in return. People tried to pay us but we politely declined. And people politely decline a quilt too, saying that there were more deserving folks for them. Another act of kindness, really. People with dumpsters still there and they are saying others are more deserving. I heard that this happened in many neighbourhoods.
I want to thank every single person who had a hand, a stitch, a dinner cooked for a quilter, an email sent to a guild, a post office clerk who handled another box, and all the cheerleaders and organizers for this effort. The Quilting for Calgary Facebook page is getting notes from people thanking the anonymous donors and volunteers. Worth a read.
Our group consisted of Vic, Pauline, Bill, Cathy, as well as the kids and I. We ended up stopping folks out walking their dogs and joggers as much as we rang on doorbells. And for every quilt we gave we received a story, a hug, a smile, a sigh. And always a thank you. May the stories of everyone live on.
If you want a bit more, the media did cover the day as well. Here are a few links:
Global National (the story is at around the 15:15 mark.)
I do want to also mention that My Sewing Room is still gathering and delivering quilts to High River. In fact, they too had a donation day recently where hundreds of quilts were given away. Go quilters!