This is a sewing and quilting blog. This is not a political discourse or anything that is meant to be controversial. So, I want to wrap up this project on a happy note. Is that possible? Let me try.
There are very good people in this world that are affected by the actions of a few very bad people. When this happens we have to stand together and provide love and comfort. I cannot stand by idly when there are injustices and I have been given so much. I have the energy, I have the time. I have my health and I have the resources. Why? Because God chose to give them to me. I did nothing to earn this. It is ALL a gift from God.
I rallied my quilting and sewing community and those that don’t sew to help me with this project. This was by no means something that I did unilaterally. I had the most incredible response and help from so many good people. There are a lot of people that were involved in this that did more work than I did–either by giving of their hard earned dollars or their time and talent.
Back to the beginning. We decided that we could donate fabric from the Bungalow for Quilts for Ukraine. People came in, got the fabric and returned with utility quilts that were beyond utilitarian. They were works of art. Many people dug into their stash of quilts that were beautiful and gently used and either brought them to the shop or mailed them to me.
I found my contact in Chicago that would allow me to bring the quilts to them, and they would send them to Ukraine. Initially when I talked to Vlad, he said that they may go to a church in Poland or someplace on the border. Yesterday, when we delivered the quilts and paid the shipping costs, they told me that they would go directly to Ukraine. They also showed me pictures that had been sent by their contacts of the devastation and the deaths. It was terribly upsetting and very sobering.
We boxed up the quilts as they came into the shop. We put them into boxes that were uniform in size.
We chose a date to deliver the quilts. Then, something really amazing happened. I got a phone call from a man in Berlin Wisconsin. He said that he was from the Lutheran church in Berlin. He had quilts from their church, and could he please tag along so that he could ship his quilts using my contact? We talked and agreed that it would be great. The best part? He had a friend with a huge enclosed trailer that would be used to take the quilts. I wouldn’t have to pay for a trailer rental. Bam! Problem solved.
In addition to this, a couple of extremely generous women from the Milwaukee area asked could they please help by starting a drive in their community for quilts? Wow. Again. Amazing. So they organized that the quilts would be dropped at 2 locations near Milwaukee. We met them in the parking lot of Lowe’s in Wauwatosa and they loaded their quilts into our trailer.
Pictured above is my friend from Berlin, who helped with the trailer. He’s loading boxes for me! Don’t worry–I helped too. I have a pretty strong back and arms from lifting bolts of fabric and patients.
We had smooth sailing all the way into Chicago. We went to the shipping warehouse. We weighed all of the boxes on a cargo scale.
Each box weighed almost exactly 50 pounds. (Way to go Cindy, Maggie and Sue Valasek–all who helped to box the quilts.) Collectively between us and the Lutheran quilts we had well over 1000 pounds of quilts.
We took our picture with Vladimir. He’s the boss.
Afterward we had conversation about the families in Ukraine. The word hardship is not a strong enough word. It doesn’t even scratch the surface. Terror, nightmare, life altering trauma and loss all comes to mind.
I feel like this is not fair. I should not be happy about the fact that we were able to do this. There should be a sadness and there is. But why are we so fortunate while others are having such pain and loss? I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my soul for helping with this project. I don’t think we could possibly make a dent in the pain and grief that is being felt and experienced by the Ukranians. Many of the quilters included messages to the Ukranians that would be receiving the quilts by writing on the back. We feel powerless. We want to help.
Hopefully we will reach someone in the depths of sorrow and they will see that someone on the other side of the world really cares about them and wants to reach across the miles and provide comfort.