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Friday, September 02, 2005

Houston, We have a problem!

The following was posted on the quiltart list with a request for quilts to be sent to HOUSTON for the refugees immediately.

QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA
A Cooperative Project
To Comfort Victims of Hurricane Katrina


To quilters everywhere:
The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast is
beyond belief. Here in Houston our hearts are heavy with sorrow
for all the horrible losses, and we are preparing to welcome the
thousands of refugees that are being bussed to us because they
have lost their homes or have no access to whatever is left of
their homes. Like so many other people, we want to help. Knowing
quilters, we think you want to help, too, because there are no
more generous, giving, open-hearted people than quilters.

Therefore, we are launching a two-part drive for Hurricane Katrina
relief, and we urge you to join us in this project. We're calling
it QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.

PART 1: Urgent Donations to the American Red Cross Disaster
Relief Fund.
We will match EVERY donation made by quilters to the American Red
Cross, up to a maximum of $10,000, on a dollar for dollar basis.
In other words, if you make a $25 donation, we'll match that with
another $25 donation. If you make a $100 donation, we'll match
that with another $100 donation, right up to the maximum. To avoid
delays in your donations reaching the Red Cross, and because we
have trusted quilters for more than 30 years now, just email us
with the amount of your donation that you sent to the American Red
Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Every penny of every donation--up to
$10,000--will be matched by International Quilt Festival. You have
my word on that. Please use this email address: exec5@quilts.com
and use the subject line: RED CROSS DONATION.

PART 2: QUILTS FOR COMFORT
Many thousands of the Katrina refugees are being sent to Houston
RIGHT NOW, and no one knows how long they will have to be here.
Most of them escaped the hurricane's fury with only the clothes on
their backs--nothing more--and they may have absolutely nothing to
go home to. They don't even know. The Astrodome is ready as
temporary housing, but there is a serious shortage of bedding.
Part 2 of QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA is the collection of quilts of
all kinds to be distributed to the refugees here in Houston so
that they have something soft to sleep on instead of the hard
concrete floors of the temporary shelters and something warm to
cover up with against the chill of otherwise welcome
air-conditioning (we've been in the 90s and 100s for weeks now).

Many of us have unfinished projects filling our closets and
cupboards. Get out one of those projects--twin size preferred but
no smaller than baby quilt size, please--and finish it up for
this. Use lightweight batting--do whatever binding is the
quickest, even a close zigzag stitch. You don't have to quilt
it--tie it! If you have only small projects, add borders. Think
about a mother lying on the floor cradling her baby--that's the
size quilt we need to provide. These quilts are not meant to be
heirlooms, although they will probably be treasured for many years
as a symbol of the caring of strangers. Tie them, machine quilt
them, work in a group with your friends and finish several on an
assembly line, do whatever it takes to get these finished quickly.
THE NEED FOR THESE QUILTS IS RIGHT NOW! If you already have some
finished pieces that you don't have plans for, send them too, as
long as they are no smaller than baby quilt size. If you are a
professional, you may have sample quilts that have become
shop-worn or faded but are still clean and very usable in an
emergency--send them!--we are IN an emergency! Be sure to put a
label on the back of your quilt or sign it with a kind thought and
your name and date. Every piece will go to a refugee family driven
from their homes by the hurricane.

To participate in QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA, send an email to
exec5@quilts.com (subject line: COMFORT AMERICA) to let us know
how many quilts you are sending. That will help us help the Red
Cross in its planning. Please do not expect a confirmation that
your quilt has been received or any kind of nice thank-you.
Sometimes we just have to do things because they are the RIGHT
things to do--this is one of those times. People need help...the
kind of help WE can give.

Use this address to send your quilt/s:
COMFORT AMERICA PROJECT
c/o International Festival
7660 Woodway, Suite 550
Houston, TX 77063

Please note: for security, do NOT use the word 'quilt' ANYWHERE
in your address label!

Many of us have also amassed linen closets full of old but
completely usable sheets--perhaps a size you no longer use, or
juvenile prints that your college age kids don't like anymore.
Clean sheets and blankets are also most welcome to QUILTERS
COMFORT AMERICA. Naturally, everything should be clean and fresh.
These folks have lived with enough mud and dirt to last them the
rest of their lives--let's give them a clean bed to rest in.
Please note that we cannot use fabric, patterns, scraps, etc.

Quilt Festival will serve as the collection point for these
quilts, and we will deliver them DAILY to the American Red Cross
staffing the refugee centers in Houston, where they will be
distributed by the Red Cross volunteers. Because we are right here
in Houston where more than 25,000 of the refugees will be, we can
make a difference RIGHT NOW...if you'll help.

Time is critical--the need is NOW! People are arriving by the
hour, children are bedding down on the cold concrete, bedding is
needed by people of all ages who have lost everything in this
horrible storm. Please help if you can. If you live in or around
Houston, you are welcome to hand deliver your donations to us.
Our address is 7660 Woodway, Suite 550, Houston 77063. You can
find it on Mapquest. Please note that this is one block of Woodway
that runs perpendicular to all the rest of Woodway.

Thanks to everyone!

QUILTERS COMFORT AMERICA.
Karey Patterson Bresenhan
Director, International Quilt Festival--Houston and Chicago

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