As the call for aid to victims of hurricane Katrina has gone out across the land millions have responded with cash and requested items. Last week local quilters were mobilized and in a matter of a few days more, nearly 200 blankets of all sizes were on their way via Fed-X to relief centers in Houston. “One of our members received an e-mail from the International Quilters Association in Houston asking for blankets, sheets, and other bedding, so we decided to mobilize local quilters and started making light weight polar fleece blankets in various sizes ranging from infant to adult, receiving blankets from flannel, we’ve had donations of sheets and are working on a variety of quilts. We’re making lightweight things that can be used now, and then we’re making heavier things like quilts that can be used as it gets colder in the winter. Fed-X has donated the shipping costs and we’re sending off six boxes today and other groups are joining us tomorrow, it has become a real community effort,” explained Carla Anderson.
Soldotna Rotarian Sam Best loads boxes filled with baby blankets he took to Fed Ex who shipped them free of charge to shelters in Houston, Texas
Veteran volunteer and Quilting Association member Jerie Best jumped in and soon quilting groups throughout the Kenai were involved, “We’re planning an all-nighter tonight,” said Best who also contacted U.S. Senators Stevens and Murkowski, “They responded the next day and are proud to see the community effort coming forth, they’re being very helpful,” said Best. Jerie’s husband Sam Best enlisted the Soldotna Rotary Club and was handling the details of the shipping and delivering the boxes of blankets to Fed-X.
Volunteers gathered at Carla Anderson's home to make baby blankets for hurricane Katrina victims
Anderson’s home in Soldotna became the manufacturing plant where volunteers gathered with sewing machines, steam irons, materials, thread and needles necessary to produce the quilts and blankets. “I had a wonderful experience at Jo-Ann Fabrics the other day, I was in line at the checkout to pay for some of our material and three ladies behind me decided to pay for the fabric, so everybody has donated almost everything,” said Anderson. The local quilters have become known internationally for their contributions of blankets to organizations such as the ABC Crisis Pregnancy Center, Foster children’s groups and the Humanitarian Services Center in Salt Lake City which sends relief wherever needed in the world. “We know that everything that we do is being used, but it is particularly special in a sad way when we know these items are being used in our own country. I’m excited that people are starting to pay attention to the things people are doing across our land to help. I’ve been disheartened to see all the looting and violence on the news because I know that most of America is people like we are right here where all we want to do is get together and help in the best way we can and worry about who didn’t do what, when, because this is what a free country and America is truly about,” said Anderson.
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