Northwest NEWS

September 6, 1999

Home & Garden

Ugly quilts help the needy

by Gino Givoachhini

   Ugly quilts are not ugly anymore. They are now sleeping bags for the needy. But more important is the fact that the ladies are still making them at the Sammamish Valley Grange, with the Kiwanis providing labels.

   How did it start? I'm glad you asked (I'll make it short). In 1979, on a cold wet day, a lady and her 14-year-old son were on their way home from the doctor's office and some 40 miles from her home. A homeless man helped her and her son onto the train, then onto the bus to get home.

   Two years later, her son showing signs of improvement, saw a homeless man and remembered what another homeless man had said when she had tried to thank him for his help. He had said, "Don't abandon me," and realized what he meant.

   This ladies name is Flo Wheatley. She resides in Pennsylvania and started making sleeping bags for the needy out of anything that was warm. In 1985, she also got other ladies to do the same.

   "Grassroots and economical" are the terms she used to discribe the way groups have started in most states, by word of mouth and example.

   Watch the reader board for dates and times at the Sammamish Valley Grange. See the ladies in action and maybe help them. Maybe you, too, will want to join them in their work.