Quilts Beyond Borders reaches out to HIV/AIDS orphans across the world to provide a handmade quilt and spread love and hope. Over 140 million children in the world today have lost one or both parents. By 2010, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to an estimated 50 million orphaned children, and 18.4 million children – more than one in three orphans – will have lost parents to AIDS. In Ethiopia alone, there are currently an estimated 4.8 million orphans.
Quilts Beyond Borders was born in March 2007 with the desire to reach out to these children and educate people in the United States about the global orphan crisis. Partnering with Cherokee Gives Back, the nonprofi t arm of Cherokee in Raleigh, NC Noreen Fling, June Colburn and Holly Fling were inspired to make a difference in Ethiopia.
Quilted Twins started with 2 (twin) sisters, one living in Dade City, FL and the other near Warsaw Poland. Rachel, the twin in Florida owns the Quilted Twins fabric store that has a huge online following as well as the physical location in Dade City where many come to shop and attend classes. Becky, the twin in Poland, shares her quilts and designs as well as putting free quilt patterns out on their site. Becky and her husband have orchestrated a huge grass roots effort in getting food and supplies to the Ukrainian refugees as well as people still in the Ukraine.
After lots of communication with various entities the Twins and associates figured out logistics on how they could ship completed quilts and pillow cases from their Florida base to Poland for distribution to Refugees and people still in the Ukraine who have lost everything.
In March 2022, Rachel sent out a request on their website for Quilters to Unite! The response was phenomenal and by April 30th they collected about 6,000 Quilts/Blankets/pillowcases and even a few afghans and knitted hats. They also had a link on the website where people could donate money to help cover shipping cost, again the response was phenomenal collecting the $30,000+ needed to ship all the materials half way around the world. They were able to secure a very good discount with FedEx by working with Scott Fortunoff of Jaftex Fabrics who has FedEx connections and was interested in helping. The first shipment was a single 100lb test box and the next shipment of 30 boxes were shipped via FedEx. The last huge shipment of 79 wardrobe size boxes started the journey via UPS to Warsaw on May 13.
Bringing the total of 12,000 pounds of materials sent through this extremely dedicated group of individuals who started out with the simple question “What can we do to help?”
Below are a few pictures of Quilts Beyond Borders quilts being received and prepped for shipping at Quilted Twins, and we will be sharing many more pictures of your QBB quilts that went to Ukraine refugees in future blog posts.
Quilted Twins is not accepting more quilts at this time, however Quilts Beyond Borders will be continuing to work with other groups to get quilts to Ukrainian Refugees in Europe and the US. If you want to send quilts for the many initiatives that Quilts Beyond Borders supports, please email us at QuiltsBeyondBorders@gmail.com.
All of us have seen the television coverage of refugee children going to Poland, Romania, and Hungary, leaving behind their homes in Ukraine, often carrying only a small backpack of personal belongings. It’s been heartbreaking to watch, and we know that quilters around the US have wanted to reach out and wrap these children in the warmth and comfort of a quilt. We were able to link up with two groups, Jeremiah’s Hope out of Abilene, Texas and Quilted Twins in Dade City, Florida, which were both planning to send some humanitarian supplies to Poland and Romania in March, April and May.
Early in March, several members of the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild in New Smyrna Beach, FL were touched by the plight of the refugee children and managed to pull together a group of quilts very quickly to make it in time for the first Jeremiah’s Hope shipment. We met at the local library parking lot for the quilt pick-up. Since that time we’ve received hundreds of quilts for the Ukrainian children from quilters all over the US, and will show them in more pictures below and in future blog posts.
As the war in Ukraine continues, we will continue to link up with charitable and humanitarian organizations to send more quilts to more refugee children. It is always important that the groups we work with have contacts in the countries where we send them to make sure to get the quilts to the children. Between Jeremiah’s Hope’s shipments and the Quilted Twins shipments, we have sent over 800 quilts to Ukrainian refugee children. Photos of some of the first quilts are below, with many more quilts to be shown in the days to come.
We are very grateful to all the talented and generous quilters who created these beautiful quilts, and to Jeremiah’s Hope and Quilted Twins for transporting them safely and quickly to the children who need them. Stay tuned – In future blog posts we will share more about the missions of these amazing organizations and lots more photos of beautiful quilts which have gone to Ukrainian children!
We will continue to collect quilts for Ukrainian refugees, as well as for our other initiatives, including but not limited to Afghani refugees, Syrian refugees and foster children in the US. Please continue to send quilts to your closest regional coordinator. If you don’t know where to send the quilts contact us at QuiltsBeyondBorders@gmail.com.
We are continuing to share photos of quilts sent to Comfort Cases as part of our ongoing partnership. This organization gives backpacks filled with comfort and personal care items for youth entering the foster care system across the country and the need is huge. We continue to send them quilts each month and will share more photos throughout the year.
Everyone has been busy making quilts! QBB really appreciates all the generosity of our sewing friends. We have donated a record-breaking number in the first quarter of this year! When you make a quilt using a Fat Quarter, you can submit it to the Fat Quarter Challenge. It will still get sent to one of the QBB initiatives, blessing some lovely children or adults. The extra bonus is the chance for you to win a prize. Read about the Fat Quarter Challenge process here.
We received two quilts in March and one in April. Linda L. of Louisiana sent these two quilts in March:
Kathy D. of Minnesota sent this one in April:
Every month we draw a winning name. That person receives a $25 gift certificate from our loyal supporters at Fat Quarter Shop . The winner in March was Cathy L. of Iowa. Here is one of her quilts:
The winner in April was Angela L. of New York:
Let the pretty colors of spring and summer inspire you to create some colorful quilts for kids! They are the real winners in this challenge. We are sure the quilts you create are well-loved.
Here in the Southwest Region we are warming up with summer temps and quilters are always busy making quilts!!
This year a new initiative has our Quilts Beyond Borders quilts heading to OCJ Kids in Phoenix, Arizona. OCJ Kids stands for Opportunity, Community and Justice for Kids. The mission of this non-profit is to equip foster and at-risk children and youth by providing them tools, resources, and positive role models to succeed and excel in every area of life. Find out more about this amazing organization and the impact they make at www.ocjkids.org.
Most of the quilts provided to OCJ Kids are included in a ‘Go’ bag with some necessities to go with a child who is experiencing a crisis and leaving their home. A few of the quilts are held back for kids who age out of the foster program and are starting out on their own with no possessions. OCJ Kids helps these young adults acquire basic needs, including bedding, for living on their own. The photo below shows a young girl who is being helped by OCJ Kids. OCJ Kids is working with her to journey through the next phase of her young life and they gave her a quilt the other day when they took her shopping for clothes. It’s so good to see our quilts touching young lives!
The following photos show some of the quilts provided to OCJ Kids January through April 2022. Such lovely, lovely quilts, touching lives. Your generosity warms the heart!
Submitted by Sherree – Southwest Regional Coordinator
Greetings from the Southwest Region! We are warming up, heading toward summer, and the generosity of quilters with Quilts Beyond Borders continues to bring joy and comfort to children.
Fifty children’s quilts were recently delivered to the Welcome to America Project (WTAP) in Tempe, Arizona. This project addresses the immediate needs and well-being of newly arrived refugee families by providing emergency supplies, necessities and education.
WTAP was founded 20 years ago and fills a critical gap in the resettlement community to stabilize newly arrived refugee families and sets a pathway towards successful integration. By providing household goods, clothing, computers and bikes (and sometimes a quilt) this organization makes an impact that lasts a lifetime. In 2021, this organization helped 403 families from 26 different countries! Find out more about the Welcome to America Project here.
The photo below is of Rosalie (in the middle), a local quilter who has generously supported Quilts Beyond Borders for several years, her husband, Bob (left), a willing driver to deliver her quilts, and Karissa (right) with the WTAP organization who received the quilts at the warehouse.
The remaining photos are of the beautiful quilts provided by many of you and delivered to WTAP.
The many beautiful photos below feature quilts created by quilters in the Northeast, across the US and even beyond for three important Quilts Beyond Borders initiatives: “Kamp for Kids”, a Philadelphia-area camping experience for children with challenges, especially autism; “Comfort Cases” for children first entering foster care in the Rockville, Maryland area, as well as other areas in the country; and “Kits for Kids”, a program in Massachusetts which provides backpacks filled with essential and fun items for children entering foster care or long-term medical facilities. Special thanks to Northeast Regional Coordinator Karen and her very photogenic dog for receiving, finalizing, organizing, photographing, and boxing and delivering hundreds of quilts like these each season to so many deserving and grateful children!
This first set of quilts went to Kamp for Kids. Thank you to: From Connecticut: Sue Sweeney, Susan Elliott; From Vermont: Judith Nuno, Ginger Nuno; From Massachusetts: Sheila Hughes, Pam Belanger, Frances Fink, Jean Thibodeau; From Rhode Island: Linda Chaffee; From Utah: Relma Miller; From Oklahoma: Alice Aldrich White
The set of quilts below went to Comfort Cases. Thank you to: From Connecticut: Peg Thomsen, Deb Jacoby, Sue Sweeney, Susan Elliott; From Massachusetts: Sheila Hughes, Joyce Mase, Terri Desmond; From Vermont: Judith Nuno; From Australia: Hong Chang; From Texas: Marsha W.; And from Estelle Gallagher who is 12 years old! Estelle, your work is stellar and I apologize for not having your address. Thank you. We hope to see more quilts from you!
Finally, this set of quilts went to Kits for Kids. Thank you to: From Connecticut: Paula Place, Barbara Buckley, Sue Sweeney; From Massachusetts: Sheila Hughes, Bonnie Salt, Frances Fink, Pam Belanger, Jean Thibodeau, Pat Wildman; From Australia: Hong Chang; From New Hampshire: Nancy Kane; From Rhode Island: Linda Chaffee; From New Jersey: Sue Hurley; From Vermont: Judith Nuno; From Wisconsin: Mary Gibbons
These quilts will be bringing warmth and a message of welcome to Afghani families resettling in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Thank you from Karen M. and everyone at Quilts Beyond Borders to these wonderful quilters from the region, across the US and beyond!
From Connecticut: Nancy Ralston, Sue Sweeney, Paula Place, Deb Jacoby, Rita Gladych, Donna Motyl, Dianne Hamm, Shoreline Quilters, Susan Elliott, Barbara Buckley, Marguerite Boslaugh, Kim Bennett, Martha Benoit; From Vermont: Judith Nuno; From Massachusetts: Sheila Hughes, Frances Fink, Pam Belanger, Joyce Mase, Terri Desmond, Donna Hopkins, Bonnie Salt; From New Jersey: Sue Hurley; From New Hampshire: Nancy Kane; From Australia: Hong Chang; From Rhode Island: Lois Gardner, Linda Chaffee, Linda Ferraro; From Texas: Lynne Aldrich, Marsha W.; From Oklahoma: Alice Aldrich White; From Wisconsin: Mary Gibbons; Location unknown: Madeline
As always, you can click on each image to view it larger.
We are continuing to share photos of quilts sent to Comfort Cases as part of our ongoing partnership. This organization gives backpacks filled with comfort and personal care items for youth entering the foster care system across the country and the need is huge. Thank you to our Fat Quarter Coordinator, Carol for delivering these quilts she recently received from the Fat Quarter Challenge (Which you can also join!) and from other quilters in her circle of generous and talented friends!