Quilters extend helping hand to wildfire victims
Before moving to Grand Junction in 2001, I lived in Colorado Springs for a little more than three years.
It’s a beautiful city at the foot of Pikes Peak, which never fails to take my breath away. My husband and I always said we felt like we were on vacation the entire time we made our home there.
When the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out June 23, I envisioned exactly where it was burning up Ute Pass off Colorado Highway 24.
I couldn’t fathom the fire threatening the spectacular Garden of the Gods or the evacuation of nearby hillside homes and that eccentric little burg of Manitou Springs nestled below them.
Then residents of the West End of Colorado Springs were forced from their homes by what was called an epic firestorm. About 32,000 people were displaced.
I stared in disbelief at aerial photos of the hundreds of houses burnt to the ground in neighborhood after neighborhood. The scope of the disaster stuns me.
What doesn’t surprise me are the efforts within this wounded community to extend a hand to those who lost everything. Churches, various nonprofit organizations and local governing bodies have stepped up to care for those most affected by the devastation.
Among those offering compassion through deeds are quilters in Colorado Springs.
An evacuee herself, Debby French is one of them. Waldo Canyon was one her favorite hiking areas before the wildfire, but now she’s grateful that her neighborhood survived and that her family’s home is intact.
Because French wants to help residents of other neighborhoods “who lost so much,” she and her quilting friend, Darlene Blazek, are collecting quilts and quilt tops to be distributed to fire victims.
The women are members of the Piecing Partners Quilt Guild. They are working with four other quilt guilds and Project Linus, a quilt charity for children.
An initial distribution is planned July 28 at Mount St. Francis on the west side of Colorado Springs, “fairly close to the burned area,” French says.
They need sizes from lap quilts to full-size quilts. Finished quilts can be either tied or quilted. They do have some longarm quilters who are willing to quilt unfinished tops, she says.
If you want to help with this effort, quilts or unfinished tops can be sent to two drop-off points:
■ Ladybug Hill Quilts, 955 E. Fillmore St., Colorado Springs 80907.
■ High Country Quilts, 4771 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs 80918.
French has a word of caution for anyone mailing quilts: Do not mark or label the outside of the box as “Quilts,” because of the potential for theft.
A second distribution time and location for more donated quilts is to be announced.
French can be reached at 719-282-9127, and Blazek’s number is 719-471-4101.
“Above all,” she says, “we want to make sure the quilts get to the people directly affected, especially the children.”
For those whose possessions went up in smoke, the comfort of a quilt could be immeasurable.