In California, fire season is lasting longer than ever with warmer and drier conditions persisting. Since the beginning of 2020, over 4 million acres have burned in California. As of this morning, nearly 4,100 firefighters continue to battle 22 wildfires across the state. I’ve had many people ask about donating quilts for fire victims and today I’ve got some suggestions for you. On a lighter note, I just returned from visiting our grandchildren in Austin so I’ve got some cute Halloween pictures at the end of this blog post.
In 2018, WE CARE was formed as a way for the quilting community to support the victims of the Paradise Fires of Northern California. This group, led by Kathy Biggi, has expanded and grown in numbers and in outreach. Many of you who follow my blog were quick to offer help when I posted about WE CARE in 2018, and it was greatly appreciated. Currently they have over 55 guilds and numerous individuals working with them.
I was glad to receive an email from Kathy last week telling me that they continue to provide quilts and pillowcases to displaced school children from the recent fires all across California. Here is an excerpt from that email:
Thank you to everyone working so hard getting quilts ready for the 2020 fire victims. What a year! We currently have between 900-1000 quilts ready to go (stored in my guest house). Sounds like a lot, but one school district can require half of those in a flash. Berry Creek Elementary alone will need close to 100 when they are ready to receive them.
Like everything else in 2020, delivering quilts is a real challenge. I have contacted schools in almost all of the burned communities in Northern California. But with fires still smoldering, power outages, and schools closed due to COVID, the response has been slow. Unlike Paradise, where we worked with one school district, there are numerous districts and schools within those districts that need to be contacted. We have to show patience on our end. We want to help….not become part of their chaos.
To answer the question, “What size?” 40-ish x 52-ish is a good size, but anything works. “What age?” We could use 2nd to 4th grade, both boy and girl. It is very helpful to have the quilts pre-measured with the size pinned or taped to the quilt.
WE CARE contact information: For more information and where to send quilts and supplies, contact Kathy Biggi at [email protected]. Right now there is no formal website but Kathy says she is toying with creating a Facebook group. She has given me permission to share her email and that is the best way to contact her.
Sew Creative – Oregon
Oregon and Washington have also been battling wildfires. Sew Creative, a quilt shop in Ashland Oregon, is accepting large lap-size or bed-size quilts. They will distribute the quilts to fire victims in their area. You can ship a new or mint-condition quilt to them at 115 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520. They greatly appreciate your help!
I had heard that Bear Creek Quilting Company in Oregon was accepting quilt donations, but the need has been filled thanks to many generous quilters.
Happiness is a Warm Quilt
The Facebook group, Happiness is a Warm Quilt, is gifting quilts to wine country fire survivors and others throughout California. You can find more information below:
Other ways to donate
Even more important than quilts (who would have thought?) are basic needs that can be supported with monetary donations. Below are a few ways you can help.
The Red Cross continues to help wildfire victims by setting up safe refuges and providing financial support. You can help people specifically affected by the California, Oregon or Washington wildfires. Write “California Wildfires,” or “Oregon Wildfires” in the memo line of a check and mail it to your local Red Cross chapter with the completed donation form. For California Wildfires you can also text the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The California Community Foundation has set up a Wildfire Relief Fund to support both mid-term to long-term recovery efforts for those affected by California wildfires.
The California Fire Foundation’s Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program brings immediate, short-term relief to victims of fire and other natural disasters throughout California.
I feel like this list could go on and on. I wish I had the time to investigate further, but I’m thankful that you’re still reading! Your thoughts and prayers to all victims are always welcome and appreciated.
Switching gears – I am still recovering from our trip to Austin. By that I mean my legs are sore and I’m still tired! It was so worth it and we had a blast. It amazes me how excited our grandkids are when we come to town. I think it’s because we give them 100% of our attention and we play with them nonstop. And maybe spoil them just a little!
My daughter, Kelly, made butterfly costumes for the girls and a bumble bee costume for Ben. She is so creative and let the girls help with placing their colorful spots on their wings. They were the cutest family of pollinators ever!
For many children this year, trick or treating wasn’t an option. I can remember Halloween being my favorite day of the year as a kid. I would have been devastated if it was cancelled. My grandchildren are at a magical age where they didn’t miss a beat! Each adult hid behind a bedroom door and handed out candy as the kids knocked on each door. Then we had a scavenger hunt for goody bags (that grandma made) in the backyard. Best Halloween ever in my opinion!
Now I’m back home and missing them as I always do. But the business of life kicks in and I find that there are so many wonderful things to enjoy at home. We just planted our winter vegetable garden, I finished my last block for the Stitch Pink Sew Along, and I am wrapping up a BOM project this week. I’m working behind the scenes on a new Christmas tutorial for you guys that will be a quick and easy project. There’s always something to be thankful for and this Sunday I’ll have a new list of Sew Thankful’s for you! Thanks for taking the time to follow along and happy quilting!