Giles Early Education Project (GEEP)

July 14, 2017

This past October I moved permanently to Eggleston, VA nestled in Giles County.  It’s a beautiful area in southwestern VA not too far from Blacksburg, VA.   Having met some wonderful people here, I asked about the need for quilts for any of the children that live in the area.   It just so happens that there is a wonderful group that works with foster children in Giles County.  Quilts Beyond Borders has since partnered with this group and has provided about 40 quilts for these children.

Ann Goette, my neighbor, wrote the following about GEEP:

Giles County is nestled in the mountains of southwestern Virginia nudged up against the West Virginia border. It is a place of rolling vistas, meadows, dappled creeks, and waterfalls; the ancient New River runs through the very heart of the county. In addition to a county seat with a population of  2,700, there are a number of small towns, some of them too small to even boast a mayor or lay a sidewalk. There is a strong and proud Appalachian tradition in Giles, great storytellers, wonderful musicians, and a tenacious sense of community.

There are also isolated hollows of misery, 47 percent of county citizens live in poverty.  Some of the children emerging from the darkest of those hollows arrive for a first day of school never having touched a book, or sat in a chair; they have no idea of how to hold a fork or take-a-turn. They are left behind before they even begin.

The Giles Early Education Project (GEEP) formed in early 2012 with the conviction that the best way to lighten the dark places in the county was to begin with its very youngest citizens. GEEP is a small but determined group of very hardworking idealists. In the past five years they have advocated for early childhood with the county board of supervisors and have seen the establishment of five pre-schools within the public school system; GEEP has put books into hundreds of small hands and opened three “little libraries” within distressed communities. The group also runs an arts program each summer concurrent with the county’s Free Lunch Program; they have sponsored early childhood teacher trainings and small children’s festivals. Through working with other agencies, and with help from a private contribution, GEEP has given every at-risk new mother a book on childcare and a beautiful board book for her newborn. Early this spring GEEP wrote and produced SMILES OF GILES – A County Alphabet Book.

SMILES OF GILES was created as a literacy project, but also as a way to give the children of the county a sense of place and community. Giles County Administration and a philanthropic couple pitched in the funds to make it possible for every three, four and five-year-old enrolled in any of the county’s early child centers to own a copy of the alphabet book. “We have a waterfall!” a four-year-old exclaimed as she pointed to C is for Cascade Falls. The small book is illustrated with drawings by the children from the summer arts programs and with fabulous nature photographs by the county’s gifted official photographer. You can order a copy here. All the proceeds go to early childhood projects, bringing brighter smiles to Giles County.

As you can imagine, being able to provide this group with quilts was a wonderful opportunity for QBB.  The quilts came from all over the US and from 3 different Regional Coordinators.  I hope that I have included all the names correctly.  If you do see your quilt and your name is not mentioned or was not properly identified, let me know.  These quilts were made by the following people in no particular order:  Shirley Elliott, Terrie Kremer, Chrissi Vergoglini, Sunshine Quilters, Joy McAuley, Mary Verrico, Joan Nar, Kathryn Zurek, Carolyn Pike, Kay McKinnon, Linda Roush, Linda Weaver, Linda Mullins-Spirio, Sally M, Delleen Kompkoff, Trudy Pickle, Donna Sciandra, Linda Lupton, Suzanne Gaensbauer, Beth S, Linda, Brenda Lou Scott, Gail Hardy, Donna Crook-Jones, Cathy Labath, Hope Crook, Misty King, and Tina Freudenberger.

Such a beautiful display of quilts and we really want to thank all of our volunteers for making these quilts.  You’ve made some children feel very loved.

Cheers, Tina


June FQ Challenge

July 10, 2017

Summer is in full swing and most of my time has been spent outside, so I apologize for the delay in posting our June winner.  Without further ado, Carol Egan, a Sunshine Member from Mendota Heights, MN was our June winner.  Carol submitted her quilt in March (pictured below), and has been a long time volunteer for QBB.  Congratulations Carol on your $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Many thanks to the FQ Shop for generously donating our monthly prize for nearly 3 years now.


I also received two other beautiful quilts during June.  One was from Brenda Lou Scott of Jordan, MN and the other was from Lynn Smith of Spring, TX.   Both of these quilts have already found homes with some foster children that I will soon be blogging about.

Thanks to all FQC participants.  We appreciate your lovely works of art.  For FQC participants that have not sent in a quilt yet, you still have through September to send in your quilt and be eligible for the monthly and yearly $100 cash prize.

Cheers, Tina

Camp Heartland Quilts and Many Others

June 15, 2017

One Heartland is an organization in Minnesota that strives to improve the lives of children, youth and families facing significant health challenges or social isolation. One of their programs is Camp Heartland, which is a summer camp for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. This is the second year that QBB has partnered with Torina Stark to provide quilts for the children at Camp Heartland. Torina recently sent us this picture which shows her and the Camp Heartland staff with the 120 quilts we sent this year —

And here’s a picture from last year’s delivery —

Here are the quilts I received earlier in the year.  Some of them went to Camp Heartland.  Others will be going to Salaam Cultural Museum to go to children in Syrian Refugee camps.  Others will be headed to Guatemala and to other initiatives over the summer, and a few will be saved for selling in our booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Whenever we sell a quilt in Houston we’re able to raise enough money to pay postage and baggage fees to get quilts to many more children.  These quilts were made by Andrea Johnson, Carol Egan, Carol Williams, Cathy Skrypek, Fern, Helen Baczynski, Jeanne Cockrell, Lorie Riopel, Mary Benz, Pat Compton, Susan Getchell, and the Sunshine Quilt Guild.  Hover your cursor over the quilts to see who made each one, and click on a quilt to see a larger view.

Great thanks to Torina for facilitating our donation to Camp Heartland, and to all the wonderful quilters who made all of these wonderful quilts!  They will all be appreciated so much by the children who receive them!







May Fat Quarter Challenge Quilts

June 9, 2017

It’s hard to believe that May has come and gone already and we are into the heat of the summer.  This month I received two fat quarter challenge quilts from Trudy Pickle of Austin, TX.  These quilts already are destined for a home in the Appalachian area of my new hometown. ( I will be blogging about this initiative soon.)  Here are Trudy’s quilts.

Now for the other news about the FQC, Kathleen Rountree of Castro Valley, CA was our random drawing winner for May.  She had submitted her FQC quilt in March.  Kathleen will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Thanks Fat Quarter Shop!  We have been so fortunate to have their support for the past 3 years, so please check them out if you haven’t already.

Just a reminder to those who still have that fat quarter fabric sitting around.  You still have 4 months (September is the last month) to enter our monthly challenge and also a chance to enter the $100 cash drawing at the end of the year.

Cheers, Tina

A Peruvian Christmas

May 21, 2017

I’m very lucky to have some really great neighbors! Paul is originally from Peru and most of his family still lives there. One Christmas their family decided to visit Grandma in Peru. When his wife, Melissa, saw the poverty there and all the homeless children, she vowed to make a change. For the next year, they planned and saved in order to take their whole family (4 awesome kids; Ashli, Shanda, Alex and Cariella!) to Peru at Christmas but with a twist. In order to help down there, the kids had a choice to make: Christmas for themselves or Christmas for others. They very unselfishly decided to bring some cheer to their dad’s hometown and when word got out about their decision, many, many people donated stockings, fillers, candy, etc to their cause. Quilts Beyond Borders teamed up with them as well and we opened up a new continent with this trip, South America!


On a snowy, wintery day in December, the kids and Melissa came to the house to load up 30 bundles of sunshine to take in their suitcases to some children who really needed the love.

As you can see, we had a good time sucking all the air out of them so more would fit in the suitcases and duffle bags (the best part was using the vacuum to squish them down. They thought that was the coolest thing EVER!!!)


The end result? A stack higher than Cariella!!

Being an empty nester, it was so heartening to have them in my home and to see and feel their excitement about something that they’re not even getting to keep but willingly sharing with someone they don’t even know, have never met and will probably never see again! That’s what Christmas is really all about, right?

Once they arrived in Peru, they found a private orphanage that is only funded with donations, no government funding. All of the children here have been abused and range in age from children barely walking to midteens. Just having visitors made it a special day for them but when they were handed a quilt and a stocking with sweets in it, I’m sure it was the most memorable Christmas they’ve ever had!

It was also memorable for my neighbors. Just like the man who saved the starfish one at a time, they made a difference in a child’s life, one at a time. In a talk at church after they returned, young Alex said, “Skipping our Christmas to help other kids was challenging to do but I felt we should go to Peru and help the kids there. Doing this made me happy and it made me proud helping other kids.”  I hope all of you can share that happiness because if QBB didn’t have you and your unselfish acts of kindness, children all over the world in already heartbreaking situations would never know the kindness of strangers. I like to think of all these quilts as little dots of light scattered throughout the world, little pinpricks of love!

Thank you so much!



Volusia County Homeless

May 10, 2017

This winter Quilts Beyond Borders joined with the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild from New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida, to work on an initiative to provide quilts to homeless students enrolled in the Volusia County School District.  There are currently more than 2000 homeless students enrolled in school in Volusia County, and while it doesn’t get as cold in Florida as it does in the North, during the winter temperatures regularly dip into the 40s and 50s at night which can be very cold when you are living in a car, a tent in a campground, or a public space.

Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild became aware of the desperate plight of these children and asked us to help them achieve an initial goal of giving at least 100 of these kids a quilt via the district’s Homeless Education Liaison.   Between the Guild and the generous donors of Quilts Beyond Borders, I think the final total was closer to 125.   They were very gratefully received, as you can see from some of the thank you notes we received!  (Names of the children have been covered to protect the privacy of the children.)  If the picture is too small to read, click on it to see it larger.

The following 10 quilts were sent to us by Karen Matheson, our Northeast Regional Coordinator and Secretary, who received them from  quilters in the Northeast. To determine the number of the picture, please hover your cursor over the picture:

  • Picture #1: Made by Barbra Buckley, Made by Pat Wildman, Made by Sandy Morawski, Made by Donna Dellacamera and Corrinne.
  • Picture #2: All three quilts made by Frances Fink.
  • Picture #3: Made by Kit Gibby, quilted by Terri Desmond; Made by Jan Bennett, quilted by Karen Matheson; made by Fran Fink.

The next quilts were received from Noreen Fling, our Regional Coordinator located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Contributors included Rare Quilting LLC of Indiana, Audrey Murphey, Sharon Pudwell and Barbara Fyffe.

Noreen picture 1Noreen picture 2

The following quilts were sent by our Northwest Coordinator, Susan Schmidt in Oregon.

  • Picture 1 –  Quilts made by: Anna Karras; Tomme Fent; Susan Ainsworth; Theola Breaux and Mary O; Carol Egan and Carla Triemer.
  • Picture 2 – Quilts made by:  Barb K and Becky G; Marci R and Rhonda A; Sunshine Quilters of CA; Donna S and Heidi’s Garden Quilting; Linda Fujimoto; Sunshine Quilters

Susan picture 1Susan picture 2

Thes next quilts came to us from Tina Freudenberger, our Vice President, who received them from Mary Verrico Joy McAuley, and Barbara Petersen.


Quilts from Tina

Kim Bell, our Regional Coordinator in Cedar Park, TX, sent us the following quilts:

  • Picture 1: Quilts made by: Sunshine Quilt Guild;  Joy McAuley and Donna Sciandra; Doris Miller; Tammy S and Doris M; Linda Rogde and Jean Clarkson; Doris M – Sunshine Quilters.
  • Picture 2: Second quilt made by Doris M.  Other three quilts made by Trudy Pickle.
  • Picture 3:  The quilt on the left is by Doris M. and Tammy S.  Unfortunately I don’t have the name(s) on the other one.  If anyone can help me identify it, please send me a note or comment below and I’ll be happy to edit this post to give credit where credit is due.  Thanks!

And here’s a picture of a quilt made by one of our Regional Coordinators, Loretta Kelldorf, which came in just in time to make the delivery to the Volusia County initiative.

Loretta 1


Finally, a picture of my friend and fellow Pelican Piecemaker, Dottie Monville, who was the guild’s liaison to the Volusia County School District Homeless Program manager.  Dottie was the one who brought this need to the guild, and she took a real personal interest in this wonderful project, making many of the quilts that the guild donated herself.  We hope to work with her again as future needs arise.


I am grateful for the generosity, enthusiasm, and talent of all the wonderful piecers and quilters that made these beautiful quilts for the homeless students of the Volusia County School District.  I know the quilts are cherished by the children, and their warmth will be appreciated when the nights get cold!



Fat Quarter Challenge for April

May 3, 2017

This month I received 3 quilts for the FQ Challenge, and I believe that all 3 of our quilters are part of the Sunshine Quilt Guild.   The quilts were from Marcia Karns, Houston, TX; Kathy Thomason, Tampa, FL; and Sue Trzcinski, Anacortes, WA.  Our winner for the month, based on a random drawing list, was Cathy Labath from Long Grove, IA.  She sent her quilt in January.  She will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  If you get a chance, check out the Fat Quarter Shop because they have such an assortment of items to suit every quilter.

Below are this month’s quilts with a few random pictures of my growing puppies, Jasper and Jake.  I thought it was appropriate since Marcia’s quilt had dogs on it.   (Don’t worry, we wash all the quilts before they are sent on to a child.)

Thanks everyone!  And you still have 5 months to enter our FQ Challenge.

Regards, Tina

From the Northwest & Beyond: Quilts for Syria

May 1, 2017

We started out 2017 by providing 20 regular size quilts and 60 baby quilts for the Syrian Refugees through the Salaam Cultural Museum based in Seattle. They traveled on a container ship full of items to help the refugees located in No Man’s Land, a strip of land between Syria and Jordan. Over 75,000 refugees live there in horrible conditions, not enough tents for people, lack of food and water, poor sanitation to name a few of the struggles there. They will appreciate the quilts since the winters there are cold despite being in the desert.

You can go to each picture and click on it to see who made and quilted each quilt. We provide quilts monthly to this cause. I have met Rita, who runs the organization and I am amazed at all that she does to help them, she is very resourceful and has tireless energy. I know that she is so grateful for all the quilts! Thanks to everyone who is helping us provide quilts to people who are suffering and bringing a bit of joy and warmth into their lives.


Susan Schmidt    Northwest Regional Coordinator

More Quilts to Syria

April 25, 2017
Another delivery of your beautiful messages of love has been sent to the Syrian refugees.  I just learned that the war in Syria has been going on for 6 years. The words suicide and prostitution are showing up more frequently in the articles about the camps. The people’s despair, their hopelessness reaches new heights daily.   Below are the quilts that were sent in the latest delivery.


Pictures are listed left to right with quilters listed within each left to right.

Picture #1,#2:  Four quilted by Peggy Thomsen, CT: pieced by Hong Chang, Australia; Deb Doyon, CT; Lee O’Connor, CT; Kelly Chladil, NJ.
Picture #3, #4:  Five made by Sheila Hughes, MA.
Picture #5:  Made by Sheila Hughes, MA; made by Pat Wildman, CT.
Picture #6:  First two made by Barbra Buckley, CT; pieced by Marsha Johnson, FLA, quilted by Linda Dranchak, ME.
Picture #7:  Two made by Nancy Kane, NH.
Picture #8:  Pieced by Marsha Johnson, FLA, quilted by Fran Fink, MA; pieced by Quilting for Christ Ministry, TX, quilted by Leesa Plude, CT.
Picture #9:  Pieced by Joyce Goldberg, quilted by Terri Desmond, MA; pieced by Jean Unger, PA, quilted by Karen Matheson, CT.

Thank you, all of you single-starfish-throwers, for your talent and dedication to our collective effort on their behalf.

Regards, Karen Matheson

From the Northwest & Beyond: Quilts for Mexico

April 20, 2017

How exciting it was to be able to provide quilts for an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico this past Christmas.  Our group provided 20 quilts that were delivered just in time for Christmas.  Pictures of that delivery are posted on our blog.

The quilts we sent are above, and if you click on the picture you will see who made and quilted them. The beautiful colors and designs are sure to be cherished by the children and provide some extra warmth at night. I am so thankful for our group who help and support me in so many ways!!

Cheers, Susan Schmidt