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Follow-Up on Donation Quilts for West, TX and Moore, OK

Follow-Up on Donation Quilts for West, TX and Moore, OK

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric

When the fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded on April 17, 2013, injuring 160, killing at least 15, and destroying or damaging more than 150 buildings, quilter and author Judy Laquidara sent word through her Patchwork Times blog  that she would be willing to accept any donation quilts for the victims of this tragedy and see that they were delivered to those who needed them.

In about a month, over 100 quilts were delivered from individuals and quilting groups.  Most of the donated quilts were distributed in West, and some were also sent to Shawnee, Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City, where an EF-4 rated tornado struck on May 19th.

Ms. Laquidara stated her feelings in a blog post May 17th, in which she noted that despite the short time-frame the number of quilts donated had been double the 50 she had originally thought would be an optimistic number.  “I hope it’s obvious to the whole world that quilters are amazing, generous, caring, kind-hearted folks,” she said.

Just as Ms. Laquidara’s quilts were being distributed in West, Texas, the Oklahoma City Modern Quilt Guild was gearing up its own quilt donation and distribution effort for the relief of those affected by a swarm of deadly tornados in the Oklahoma City area.  Besides the EF-4 tornado in Shawnee, OK on May 19th, multiple tornados struck Moore, OK on May 20th, including at least one EF-5 monster that left a path of destruction more than 1.3 miles wide and 17 miles long.  Twenty-three people were killed and 377 were injured.  Whole subdivisions were flattened.  It was in Moore that the 2 schools were destroyed.

The Oklahoma City Modern Quilt Guild  initiated their “Moore Love” campaign in a matter of days.  The campaign had 2 components:  to collect donated quilts to deliver to those who had been affected by the destruction and to make and raffle 2 quilts to support local charities for long-term disaster relief in the Oklahoma City area.

The quilt raffle raised an amazing $1,310 benefiting the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s “May Tornadoes Relief Fund” and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

In addition, over 400 quilts were received from guilds and individuals as far away as Australia.  To see photos of the donated quilts, check out the Moore Love Flickr album.

In a summary on the Guild website,  the Guild tells about the circumstances of a few of the people who received quilts.  One quilt went to “a sweet boy who lost his mother and home.  Weeks later, when he received a quilt, he was still in the hospital recovering from his own injuries.”  Another quilt went to “a Moore music teacher with 2 small children who lost her home and car.  Quilts passed down in her family were lost, so receiving quilts had special meaning” for her.

It’s really inspiring how quilters come together to make and deliver these quilts, objects of beauty and comfort, for those in need – not only in big disasters like these, but for so many causes large and small:  returning veterans, cancer research, a sick child or  a family whose house has burned down.  Quilters really are some of the most caring and generous people around!


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