Update on WE CARE

Christmas is right around the corner, so it’s nice to share some “glad tidings” with all of you. I received a wonderful update from Kathy Biggi of WE CARE. This is the organization that has been providing quilts and pillowcases to the displaced school children from the Paradise Camp Fire. You can read more about this at my previous blog post here.

WE CARE:  Quilts for children of the Paradise Fire in California, directed by Kathy Biggi.  The Crafty Quilter is just passing this information along!

There has been a fantastic response from quilters everywhere, including so many of you that read my blog. Kathy told me to send my followers a big THANK YOU for being so generous! Here is Kathy’s most recent email:

What a magical day!!!  Tamara and Heidi Cook, Bev Sarchett & Lara Riley and Michael and I loaded up our “sleighs” and headed to Cedarwood School in Magalia. (pre-K thru 12)
We put the quilts on cafeteria tables by grade levels and the children were called in by class to choose their quilts.  The tears, hugs, smiles, more hugs, laughs, and thank yous were overwhelming.  “this is the best blanket I ever had”…..” I’m going to give this to my grandma” (take one for you too)……”who made this?”……..”how do you make a quilt?”…….”I can’t find one I like”…….”I want minions” (we don’t have minions) “I want minions!”   Couldn’t please everyone, but more than 300 were okay with their quilts.
The school district is doing a
remarkable job “keeping it all together” in their 1,500 square foot office.   School locations and students change on a daily basis.  Students come and go.  Many are on independent studies.  The staff (over 400 who lost homes) are comforting the children while trying to get their lives back to some normality.  It’s amazing to see the compassion and love among them and the neighboring commmunities.
We took quilts to Pine Ridge school which is now located in two different places….some at Cedarwood and some in Oroville.  The Oroville location will be moved again when the students return after winter break.
We were not able to give all the quilts away because many older students are on independent studies until there is a school to go back to.  We will get quilts to them in January.
There are no words to describe the devastation we drove through to get there.  Handmade signs along the road……we will rebuild…..Paradise Strong……we will beat this……pray and pray harder……and the one that made me cry……”Rebuild.  It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” (Walt Disney).

Because I know, YOU CARE, here are a few things we were told by the staff and School Board President.
     FEMA has set up an office close by and has been really helpful.  FEMA in Citrus Heights and Sacramento are for those who have relocated.
     The looting we heard about was mostly people just trying to get food and water.
     Schools are receiving too many donations that are “not helpful” and are “filling their storage areas”
     The county has not started to distribute the donated money.  They are requiring residents to interview for funds.
     Several  insurance companies have filed bankruptcy.
     The state has reduced restrictions for three years to allow for trailers to placed on properties.

     The staff members would love to have quilts too.  I explained WE CARE is for children.  If you know of groups with adult quilts, they would be greatly appreciated.
     Director, Ron Howard, is in town filming a documentary 
I have 150 quilts on the way for under 5th grade.  That’s really all we will need.  Our focus has to switch to upper grades.  Pillowcases are coming in like crazy.  It’s great!
This will be my last email until 2019.  I HAVE to get ready for Christmas!  Several asked me to ask not to have responses go to everyone, but more have asked that they do.  So, if you would rather not get my email, just let me know and I will take you off the list next time.  Otherwise, it’s nice to communicate with this WE CARE family.
Remember…..we are meeting again on January 15th at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley.
It was the most devastating, yet remarkable day!  It is so heartwarming to know so many children are cuddled in their quilts tonight thanks to all of you.  Have they greatest holiday ever knowing you were a part of making so many families smile tonight.


If you would still like to send quilts or pillowcases, you can mail them to

WE CARE

c/o Kathy Biggi 14280 Bar Ela Ranch Rd. Grass Valley, CA  95945

This will probably be my last update before Christmas. I’ll be back before the New Year to update you on my 2019 UFO challenge – which will be happening since many of you have requested it! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and thank you for being a part of my creative community!


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About Julie Cefalu

Hello! I'm Julie and I love to quilt, craft, read, garden, hike and spend time with my family.

6 thoughts on “Update on WE CARE

  1. It’s good to hear that quilts make a difference to people. My husband alsways tells people he can’t understand why his wife buys big pieces of fabric, cuts it into small pieces just to sew it back together again! If he asked those poor folks devasted by the fire, he would know. It’s a passion and a love.

  2. Julie, Thanks for an update and information on a great project. Certainly this is not what any of us expect to be part of a child’s education. Fifty years ago when I was taking education classes I never dreamed that teachers would be handling many of the challenges that they are today. I had double majors and double minors in college and was sure I was going to be a math teacher when I started college. I took the first computer science class offered to non-engineering students and the rest was history, so to speak. I soon was a computer science minor. Since I finished my degree work in December and did not get my diploma until May, I started looking for a job and started to work on Monday after I received my diploma on Saturday in May. I followed my love of computers. I did get a masters degree in education and worked toward (and did not finish) a docorate in education. So, I still had a love affair with the subject. However, the acorn does not fall far from the oak. My daughter is a math teacher. I am now disabled and would love to substitute for “fun.” My daughter tells me that the lack of discipline would drive me crazy and keep my migraines stirred, so I don’t even apply. It breaks my heart because our state has a dire shortage of teachers and even substitutes. I grew up in a very poverty stricken area and was very aware of the lack of food, clothing and even housing. The need for the students due to the fires saddens me. It has to be very difficult for the students to focus on studies when worrying about not only themselves but also the entire immediate family, extended family and friends. Thanks for highlighting this blight and what we quilters may do to help these young people and their families.
    Merry Christmas and may God’s blessings and mercies surroung you and your loved ones this beautiful and Holy Season.
    Susan

  3. Hello Julie, I missed your original post, so thank you for posting this special information. I will send a quilt or two as soon as I can. Thank you for sharing and have a fantastic day and a wonderful Christmas!

  4. Yay! Julie, for you and all the others who have helped and those who continue to provide for students of all ages. I plan to put aside my other projects from now until the new year and just make pillowcases. This will not take as long as a quilt and I can send more. Thanks again for the mailing information.
    Merry Christmas and happy New Year!!

    Diane

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