Quilters share for the benefit of community 

Skills and talents dedicated to those in need at difficult times

click to enlarge BLANKET STATEMENT Jen Patterson, one of the Whistler Quilt Guild members, working on a community quilt.
  • BLANKET STATEMENT Jen Patterson, one of the Whistler Quilt Guild members, working on a community quilt.

Pique Newsmagazine's SHARE Whistler campaign is underway and over the next five weeks community organizations will be highlighted for the good work they do with funding from the Community Foundation of Whistler.

In addition to learning more about the groups funded by the Community Foundation, Pique is giving away prizes from Prior. To qualify for the weekly draws donate $50 or volunteer five hours with one of the charities listed on the Community Foundation of Whistler's website (whistlerfoundation.com) under the SHARE Whistler tab. Pique will match donations, up to a total of $10,000.

One of the organizations supported by the foundation is the Whistler Quilt Guild.

For 20 years the Whistler Quilt Guild has been meeting regularly and keeping a Canadian tradition alive while giving back to the community at the same time.

The organization is slated to get a $500 community grant from the Community Foundation this year and like the other community organizations receiving funding from the foundation that $500 will be converted into significantly greater value going back to the community in the year ahead.

Mary Forseth, president of the guild, says the dedicated 45 guild members meet regularly in Whistler to share their passion for quilting. As a group they commit to producing at least 20 quilts a year to benefit community members. Above and beyond that commitment, Forseth says the quilters from Pemberton to Squamish make hundreds of ice pack covers each year for the Whistler Health Care Clinic.

She says the clinic called her up just a few days ago to report the supply of ice pack covers has dwindled and they urgently need more. The covers go out of the clinic with patients from around the world and Forseth says the covers never come back so her members just keep producing more.

Forseth says the group was alerted to the need for 20 baby blankets so the quilters are busy working on that order. The blankets will go to newborns delivered in private homes.

“A lot of them, we don’t know where they go because of privacy issues,” says Forseth.

“Most of the time all we know is there was a family in need or a family with a fire or there was an accident.”

It doesn’t matter. The group knows that when someone from the community services society or one of the nurses in the corridor says there is a need, the group gets to work on it. There are no questions, just quilts. The quilts produced by the members of the group, which is celebrating 20 years in existence, are the answer to everything.

The group doesn’t limit its help to those here at home. Quilts have been donated as far away as New Orleans, Kelowna, Japan, and Lesotho, Africa.

The giving isn’t limited by geography and the group isn’t limited to retirees.

“One of our mandates is to continue that Canadian tradition of quilting,” says Froseth.

Along the way the group is attracting some younger members who Forseth says are very interested in reducing, reusing and upcycling fabric for the greater good. Some of the “more experienced” guild members are in their eighties but Forseth points out they still enjoy skiing when they aren’t quilting.

Check back with Pique Newsmagazine for the names of the weekly prize winners and for more on the many groups supported by the Community Foundation of Whistler.

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