Story as published in The SE Voice
A group of Limestone Coast quilters continue to use their skills to provide comfort to children being placed into care.
Members of Mount Gambier’s Pine Tree Quilters recently donated 32 quilts to ac.care, taking their tally beyond 400 since the group project started a decade ago.
The handmade quilts, made of fabric emblazoned with bright colours and child-friendly themes, are gifted to children by ac.care staff when they are placed with foster carers or in residential care homes.
Pine Tree Quilter Kaye Dalgarno said the group started making quilts for the organisation 10 years ago as a one-off project, inspired after learning children often had no possessions other than the clothes they were wearing at the time of being taken into care.
“I heard children in care owned absolutely nothing, so I wanted to give them something that was their own, whether they stayed in the same house or moved between foster homes,” Ms Dalgarno said.
“We just dropped off 32 quilts, adding to a total of 400 quilts donated to the agency since we started.
“We have tags securely sewn on where children can write their name, so they do not lose their quilt.”
ac.care Foster Care service manager Dani Atkinson explained when a child is placed by ac.care with foster carers or in a residential care home, staff look through the donated quilts to find a match for the child.
“It may seem like a small comfort, but it can have a big impact on a child and add to their sense of belonging in their new home,” Ms Atkinson said.
“The quilt then stays with the child forever, including whether they are reunified to their birth family or if they require a longer-term placement with a forever family in foster care.”
Pine Tree Quilters also donated a number of handmade Santa sacks for use in ac.care’s Christmas Cheer program, which provides food, gifts and other basic items to support people experiencing hardship in the Limestone Coast.
ac.care Homelessness Services Limestone Coast regional manager Kelly McGuinness said the handmade Santa Sacks were a welcomed addition to the support packages.
“For people and families needing support, these Santa Sacks were not only practical, but also touched on the tradition and spirit of Christmas,” Ms McGuinness said.
“It is small gestures of goodwill like this that can positively impact the holiday season for people experiencing hardship.”
The Pine Tree Quilters meet on the third Wednesday (evening) and third Thursday (day) of each month at the trotting clubrooms at the Mount Gambier Showgrounds, with new members always welcome, regardless of quilting experience.
Contact Lyn Sparks on 0448 153 852 to become involved with the club or with making quilts for this project.