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Archive for Thursday, November 22, 2007

Quilts meant as ‘hugs’ for town’s tornado survivors

November 22, 2007

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Local resident makes quilt 'hugs' for Greensburg tornado victims

A patchwork of relief efforts poured into Greensburg after a tornado left the town in ruins, but now some victims will feel the warmth of a new donation from the area. Enlarge video

— When Judy Johanning heard about the tornado that ravaged Greensburg, she donated money to help.

But the Baldwin City resident wanted to do more.

"I just wanted to do something for the people," she said.

Johanning, a quilter, got to work assembling and sewing quilts for the residents of Greensburg, the town of about 1,400 that is rebuilding after the May 4 tornado reduced much of the community to ruins.

Johanning spread the word to friends, family and fellow quilters. And now, after months of work, she has created and collected more than 40 quilts to share in this season of giving.

The quilts will soon make their way to Greensburg.

"I just hope that people will find comfort in these quilts and know that other people care about their loss," she said.

Johanning said she understands the challenges facing Greensburg residents. Years ago, her parents' home was destroyed in a fire.

Her initial goal for the Greensburg residents was to send 10 quilts.

"When we started, it was going to be such a small thing, and it's just kind of ballooned up," said Wincel Jehle, a Baldwin City resident and member of the Maple Leaf Quilters Guild of Baldwin City.

Johanning initially brought the plan to the guild, whose members gathered together to work on the quilts. Johanning's family also contributed. Her daughter assisted, and a sister-in-law in Maryland sent her contribution.

Other helpers included Lawrence Memorial Hospital employees and members of First Church of the Nazarene in Lawrence.

The quilters have contacted Mary Sweet, administrator of Kiowa County Memorial Hospital, to assist in finding a way to distribute the quilts.

Sweet, whose own home was destroyed in the tornado, said the quilts will be used.

"It's getting really cold," she said. "There's always a need for blankets."

Sweet gave her own situation as an example. She wasn't able to salvage blankets in her home because small bits of insulation clung to the cloth.

"I know there's going to be a need for them," she said.

Cathy Miles, president of the Maple Leaf Quilters Guild, said she's happy to know that the gifts will fill a need.

"My feeling about a quilt is that's a hug for somebody that you can't quite touch personally," she said. "Maybe our little effort will let them know that we're proud of them and we're supporting their efforts to rebuild their town."

Comments

Bladerunner 7 years, 1 month ago

When I was younger my friends and I would drive around looking for lots of cars parked in front of a house...thus finding a party. Well imagine my surprise to walk in on a quilting party one fateful nite. Needless to say, our 30 pack of keystone light was quite appreciated and we partied with the white hairs till the early hours of the morning. I had a new sense of respect for quilters from that moment on.

Cant wait for an article on Tupperware. Now THAT is another great story!

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