Giving back to one’s community, to me, is the most important things you can do for your community. There are lots of was to give back to your community and it does not always involve money.
Last year, North Carolina went through a couple of terrible hurricanes that left areas devastated. Some folks are still without homes and belongings. As this is in my backyard I felt compelled to contribute in some way. I have donated several clothes, kitchenware and bedding already. My favorite contributions though, that I recently finished, are two quilts that were donated to Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project.
The first project is using Denyse Schmidt’s Ocean Wave quilt pattern. I started with a 100 charm pack of various Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and 3 solid charm packs that I had received in conference goodies. The HST laid out beside each other were a little saturated for me so the extra negative space in the ocean waves pattern was perfect. I am not a huge fan of the prints but I loved how it turned out. I know it will be treasured by its new owner too.
The other quilt was an UFO that I had lying around for a couple of years. It was originally designed for a back but I decided it was better as a quilt top. I made it slightly larger by adding blue border. I think it would be such a fun kids quilt.
Both quilts were quilted by Cary Quilting Company which is also the place to drop off and donate quilts for #Carolinahurricanequiltproject.
There are many groups that you can join that are all about giving quilts to charity.
- Quilts of Valor
- Healing Hearts for Christchurch
- Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project
- Local Guilds (our guild supports the Durham Foster Care System)
Making quilts or quilt blocks for quilts to donate are one way to give back to your community, however there are many other ways to give back as well. Here are other some ideas for thought:
One of the things I hear from several guilds and groups is how hard it is to get volunteers. Time is one of the easiest things you can give to your community, even if its just an hour here or there. Opportunities with you group or guild could include:
- An event – manning a booth or for setup / take down
- Bringing refreshments
- Organizing an activity – like a swap
- Join a committee or a board
One of my favorite things to do is to volunteer for events that nurture other people’s interest in the activity that I love (in this case, quilting). For example, this weekend, the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild hosted a booth at the NC Museum of History to support the Quilt Speak Exhibit. The booth highlighted Modern Quilting and had a couple of machines and fabric there, so folks (the public) can make an improvisation block. A way of learning some modern quilting techniques and promoting participation, a great conduit for community interaction. We even had people trying sewing for the first time.
Education is so important in today’s societies. Art and hand skills are missing in many schools today, and I think people are missing the ability to express themselves, become creative thinkers, or see | understand other views. Some options here include volunteering at your local schools (or your kids school), or at local community centers, Local guilds or art centers.
For any of these think about:
- A talk you could do (also gives you a chance for public speaking)
- A Program (like a tutorial of a technique)
- Join a group that supports outreach programs to schools or teens
- Or run an after school program at your local school.
I am hoping over the next year to either help out with an existing outreach program or start one for kids and teens. I would like to teach sewing basics, quilting basics and design elements. I will let you know how this goes.
Don’t forget many art programs are working on grants. If you have left over supplies that you don’t know what to do with, think about donating it to an art program. I donate everything from instructional or art books, glue, paper, pens, fabric, sewing notions etc. Also, don’t be afraid to ask what the organization needs as they may have specific program in mind. For example, one group needed a couple of Gees Bend books as they were studying them that year.
Those were my ideas and things I have tried. I would love to hear how you give back. I am always looking for new opportunities and ways to give back or participate in my community.