Stitches of Love members Barb Stckel & Jane Avery, of the Office of Children's Services, with quilts made for foster kids.
Quilting on the Kenai Peninsula has been a popular pastime and art form for many years reflecting the warmth and creative spirit of the community. Three years ago quilter Jane Avery became aware of a way to help children facing family troubles through her love of quilting, “I saw an article in a newspaper about a group that was making quilts for foster kids in Anchorage, so I contacted Allison at Children’s Services and she was so enthusiastic and encouraging that we got busy and put our group together,” said Avery.
The group is known as “Stitches of Love” and they have about 18 active members that have made over 100 quilts for foster children in our area according to member Barb Steckel “It’s a gift of the heart knowing that these children have a special gift of love as they go into the foster program,” said Steckel. Allison Gottesman is a social worker with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services division of Children’s Services and says the quilts make a huge difference, “They really like the quilts, it gives them a sense of belonging and is something they can take with them. Then after their family heals they can take the quilts home with them. “It’s a practical gift and something that is needed, it helps the foster family as well that is supporting these kids while their families are in transition, so the quilts are greatly appreciated by all of us,” said Gottesman.
Stitches of Love members Barb Steckel & Jane Avery with Allison Gottesman, of the Office of Children's Services, with quilts made for foster kids.
The materials for the quilts were donated by the original Stitches of Love members that started the program, but as the demand has increased so has the need for materials says Steckel, “We’ve also had some donations of fabrics and battings from some individuals in the community and other local businesses have helped us with funds so that we can go out and purchase materials. The batting is the most expensive part and that’s where we can use some financial help, but remember that is what makes the quilt warm and cozy for the child.” According to Steckel a roll of batting costs about $150 and will make about 15 quilts. “We have some quilts ready to go, but we are going to need to make some more, so we can always use some more sewers,” added Steckel. For more information about Stitches of Love or to volunteer contact Barb Steckel at 262-2407, or Jane Avery at 260-9005.
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