Thursday, January 12, 2017

Follow the Charity Quilt Process, Part I: Day 12

Comforters Made by Serging

This past week I popped up to the Mennonite Christian Committee's Connections Thrift Store in Kidron, Ohio. To say it is an impressive operation is an understatement. More than 300 volunteers rotate through the month to assist in the many ongoing projects housed there besides the thrift store. Many help daily. The back of the store where donations were being sorted was teeming with people when I arrived. There were departments for electronics, books, clothing, shoes, furniture, home goods, plants, decorations, toys, sewing machines, and on and on. It was a cross between a small city and Santa's workshop, and everyone was genuinely glad to be there. 

For more information on the MCC comforter outreach 
or how you can help in their work, click on the video.

I went specifically to find out more information about their comforter program, and how I could lend my help. I thought I would come away with a tidy definition, but instead I had even more questions. The need is so great, and everyone's help makes a difference.

This one facility processed over 1,000 comforters last year. 870 were sent for relief efforts around the world, and nearly 200 were sold in the store. While the video above will share how MCC distributed nearly 46,000 worldwide, let's talk about how a grassroots operation works.

To those of you in the know: I'm sure I'll miss some things so feel free to correct me. 

Local churches have ongoing project days to produce comforters and comforter tops. Most of the comforters that come to Kidron are made in Holmes and Wayne Co., and churches bordering them. The comforters are either tied and bound by each church or sent on to the Kidron site to be finished. Kidron is just one of many such sites in the whole MCC web. 

Kidron also takes donated fabric, and turns it into comforters using many volunteers. Mondays are for laying out patterns, Tuesday for sewing together squares like the above picture. Notice that they serge these together for a stronger seam. I've never seen that before. Other days of the week may have volunteers come in to pull fabrics for each comforter, cut pieces, set up frames, and so on.

A Beautiful Sewing Room Full of Light!

Volunteers help in all areas of comforter production. Cutting fabric, designing the quilt top, serging, and adding the ties.

My dad and I were pleased to run into friends from Sugarcreek's First Mennonite Church. A retired doctor and his wife sit at the quilt frame. He finds it easier to tie his knots using hemostats. All those years of surgery and stitches have paid off! 

The walls of the room are hung with many quilts, and I was not surprised to see the Trip Around the World pattern and variations many times over.

While I should have taken more pictures for you, I'll do that the next time I go back. I promise. The rug maker was working the loom in the background, and I wanted to see his work along with several others creating unique things. There just wasn't enough time. I have asked them to let me know when there are enough comforters to use the quilt baler, and I will return. All comforters are compressed and packaged at the facility before they are shipped to a central distribution center. The distribution center packs the shipping containers, and they are taken to areas of need by ships. 

I know I've said the operation was fascinating already, but we haven't even touched on the quilt auction they host every summer. I don't know how I'm ever going to fit all this into just one month or sleep tonight thinking it all through. I hope you do.

Come on, Doxie girls.
I'll share my quilt.

Linking up with~


Rebecca Grace said...

Lutheran World Relief has a similar Mission Quilts program. But the quilters at our church just sew their squares together with a regular sewing machine. I don't think any of those ladies has a serger. What are the guidelines for the MCC charity quilts? LWR quilts have to be approximately 60" x 80", warm filler used (poly), and they can't have any messages, religious/patriotic/military symbols, messages, name of the congregation that sent them, etc. Which made me sad, because I love personalizing my quilts and had thought of embroidering a Bible verse or something.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Thank you for sharing. I will see if I can work these in- but there is no drop off center near to me.

Barb Neiwert said...

Wow! What a project. Very interesting to see the dedication and volunteerism. I love the doctor's method for tying the quilt, lol!

Gretchen Weaver said...

The quilting room at the Connections Thrift Store is a lot nicer than what the Depot has in Goshen, Ind. Our area has started hosting a comforter bash in October. In 2016 200 comforters were knotted in 2 days, that's a lot of knotting.

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...


Kate said...

Wow, that's quite an operation!