Quilters share for the benefit of community 

Skills and talents dedicated to those in need at difficult times

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For 20 years the Whistler Quilt Guild has been meeting 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 of Whistler this year and like the other community organizations receiving funding from the CFOW 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 said are very interested in reducing, reusing and upcycling fabric for the greater good. Some of the "more experienced" guild members are in their 80s, but Forseth points out they still enjoy skiing when they aren't quilting.

Other worthy Whistler organizations receiving funding this year include the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP), the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) and the Whistler Museum and Archives Society (WMAS). WASP will use $1,350 from the foundation to support the Girls Multi-Sport Project while WCSS will dedicate its $1,500 grant to school-based drug and alcohol education and the WMAS plans to dedicate $450 in grant money from the foundation to improving the digital history of Whistler.

This is the second in a series of articles on Pique's SHARE Whistler campaign, a five-week campaign that encourages community members to donate online to local charities through the Community Foundation of Whistler. Pique will match donations up to a total of $10,000. Half of Pique's donation will go to the CFOW's community fund. For more, www.whistlerfoundation.com.

The primary goals of the campaign are:

• To attract new donors and volunteers to support local non-profits;

• To encourage people 35 and under to get involved in philanthropy and the Whistler community;

• To provide publicity and exposure for a variety of local charitable causes;

• To highlight the CFOW's community fund.

Donate online through the CFOW website or volunteer with one of the 12 charities listed on the CFOW website. Donations of $50 or more and people who volunteer five hours or more will be eligible for the weekly Prior draw. The draw will be made each Wednesday, at 7 a.m., starting Dec. 5 and continuing through Jan. 2. There is a maximum of five entries per person per week for the Prior draws. All qualifying entries (other than the draw winners) will be eligible for successive draws.

Tax receipts can be issued but those entries will not qualify for the Prior draw.

The second half of Pique's donation will be up to $5,000 to local charity groups based on matching volunteer hours. One volunteer hour is valued at $10. If the total number of volunteer hours submitted by all charities exceeds 500 Pique's $5,000 donation will be distributed based on the proportion of hours submitted by each charity.

Winner of the first Prior draw: Congratulations to Justin Dechant.

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