QCH began in 1990. June Nielsen created a flyer inviting others to a meeting to discuss making quilts for needy children in the community. Twelve women attended the first meeting of the group. From the onset, the philosophy was to make quilts with whatever was available through donations. No deadlines, dues, or quotas were established. The idea was to welcome volunteers with open arms (no sewing skills required), and for everyone to enjoy the process of creating original quilts for the children. Quilt tops were sewn at home by willing members, and quilts were tied once a week at the meeting place. 4 times per year, quilts were given to area agencies to be distributed to children of homelessness, abuse, poverty, teen parents, abandonment and visual impairment. In the first year 100 quilts were distributed to 4 agencies. At the end of 2019, sixteen agencies are on the distribution list and more than 12,000 quilts were given away since 1990.
Due to confidentiality, our members do not have the joy of meeting the children and handing them the quilts directly. Occasionally, an agency will send a photo of a child enjoying his/her quilt along with a letter or a thank you note describing the difference that a quilt makes to a child. Some of the children who arrive at CARDV (Center Against Rape and Domestic Violent) have only the clothes on their backs. They immediately receive their own quilt.
Within QCH, there’s a subgroup of dedicated quilters, the “VIP group,” who make quilts and cuddlers for children with visual and perceptual disabilities. A local educator helped to perfect VIP quilt patterns and these quilts are full of high-contrast colors and many different textures.
QCH is fortunate to receive support from several granting agencies, including Benton Community Foundation, Consumers Power, Inc, OSU Folk Club Thrift Store, Corvallis Kiwanis Club, andTrust Management Services LLC. The grants make up a third of the group’s budget. Another third comes from donations. The rest comes from members fund-raising projects. Beyond support in cash, QCH receives donated fabric from community members. QCH is a non-profit group with no paid staff.
Each week we enjoy having lunch (bring your own) together, and a “Show and Tell” session, showing each other newly completed quilt tops or finished quilts.
We currently have a membership list of about 77 people, and approximately 40 members and their guests show up on any given Wednesday. Every member is important. We are proud of our group, and hope that we can continue our quilting efforts and our friendships for many years to come.