| Oct 15, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 16, 2009 New Victoria Quilts Canada branch calls Harrowsmith home

Members of the new Victoria Quilts Canada-Harrowsmith branch L-r: Pat Fox, Jodie Ollerhead, Laurie Scala, Judy Skeggs, Shelly Lacelle, Virginia Norris and June Gibson

Godfrey resident Laurie Scala is not new to quilting or volunteering. As a former member of the Victoria Quilts branch in Bolingbroke she has put many volunteer hours into making quilts free of charge for patients going through cancer treatments.

Recently she saw the possibility of forming a new branch closer to home since there are no branches in Kingston or the surrounding area. Laurie recalled, “The members at the Bolingbroke branch were a great bunch of ladies but the 45 minute drive was becoming unmanageable for me, especially in the winter.”

At that time Laurie was taking quilting classes with Shelly Lacelle, owner and operator of Wilton Creek Fabrics in Harrowsmith. Laurie spoke to her about the idea of starting up a new branch in the area. Shelly was on board immediately and offered to donate space in her store and the use of much of the necessary equipment.

“I’d heard of Victoria Quilts previously and had always wanted to have some sort of group formed where we could donate and give back to the community and this was the perfect opportunity,” Shelly Lacelle said.

Laurie then applied to Victoria Quilts Canada and got their approval to start up the new branch. She and Shelly mentioned the new branch to a number of people she knew and the rest is history. The Harrowsmith branch held its first official meeting on Sept. 9 at Wilton Creek Fabrics and now has 11 members.

Victoria Quilts Canada is a national volunteer not-for-profit charitable organization with branches across Canada. Volunteers with varying levels of skills and knowledge come together and make quilts for cancer patients to comfort them when they are going through their chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Members need not be quilters but can also volunteer to take care of the administrative end of things.

Quilts can be requested through the main website or by a family member or friend through any of the branches. All quilt requests are confidential. Quilts are made in order of priority for those patients in the most immediate need and are hand delivered with a card bearing the name of the person who requested the quilt. Laurie has delivered a number of quilts to patients herself and explained, “People are so grateful and appreciative, it’s so heartwarming.”

The quilts can be made in any design but come in standard sizes depending on the age of the recipient and are all are lap-sized. They are washable, made with flannel and very cozy.

If a quilt is needed immediately, branch members will work together on it. Otherwise they can work independently and stockpile quilts until they are requested. The average quilt takes 40 + hours to make.

The Harrowsmith branch has taken their first quilt request and also delivered it. Coincidentally, it happened to be for a good friend of one of the branch members, which came as great surprise to all.

The experience allowed the members to realize the importance and rewards of the handiwork that they do. “We all want to do something to help others and this is a way that we can reach others. You gain so much from their courage and what they’re going through. It’s like giving every patient you touch through the branch a big hug,” Laurie said,

Members meet the second Thursday of every month at Wilton Creek Fabrics in Harrowsmith at 4909 Road 38 on the second floor from 10am-4pm.

The new branch will be participating in a craft show at St. Paul’s United church in Harrowsmith on Saturday, Nov.14, from 9am-1pm and at the Verona Farmers’ market on Saturday Dec. 5 from 9am-1pm. For information about the Pampered Chef fundraiser for Victoria Quilts’ Harrowsmith branch please visit www.pamperedchef.biz/starlippay

Anyone interested in joining the new Victoria Quilts Canada-Harrowsmith branch can contact Laurie Scala at 613 374-1057. For more information please visit www.victoriaquiltscanada.com 

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