Sunday, September 11, 2011

Texas Fire Victim's Relief Effort

Relief effort is underway. We have several members who have been directly involved in the most recent devastating fires that ravaged East Texas. Some have lost their homes and everything in them. Others have suffered smoke damage. The community there is full of women and men who were avid needleworkers. You can see photos and read a personal account of the fire experience on Lyn's blog at

The moderators of MAP have decided to launch a relief effort to try and help the people in this community with needlework stash replacement. This will be done as part of the outreach associated with our Stash Angel Program.

The following letter is being sent to several needlework sites and organizations. We are hoping we can get a response that will rock the socks off of the Bastrop community!

We are all aware of the devastating fires that recently shook eastern Texas. We know several ladies who have been affected by these fires. For instance, Michele P., and Debbie H. both of Bastrop have lost their homes comletely to the fires there this past week as have several other of our stitching friends. Even Lyn Gaskill, who is also from Bastrop, has her home still standing but she was totally without power/electricity for several days. Frannie S. and Kay F. of nearby Cedar Creek have their homes still standing but they had been evacuated. All three of these last ladies have suffered a great deal of smoke damage to everything in their homes, including their stash.

The members of Stitchmap are working on coordinating donations for helping to replace the stash of the ladies who lost everything and those who may have suffered smoke damage beyond repair. We are accepting donations of all types of stash from scissors, floss, fabric, mags/books, needles, etc. If you use it in CQ, embroidery, quilting or other types of needlework, they can definitely use it to replace what has been lost. We have also had a suggestion that a donation of gift cards for the local needlework supply stores - such as the local quilt shop, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, etc. - might be a good idea so that they can replace those items like cutting mats, etc. that are awkward to mail. Whatever we can do to help will be done.

It is our intention to collect the donations at one central location here in Colorado. Then we will personally transport a delivery as soon as we hear that they have had a chance to regroup, talk with their insurance agents and that they have decided whether to rebuild or move into some already built place. Some are living in 5th wheelers right now. We are coordinating with one of our Austin members (just 30 miles away) who will help oversee the distribution of the Christmas ornament donations. Without a place to store the needlework stash donations, and with the holidays soon approaching, it seems senseless to send that to them right now. I am sure they have more important things to worry about at the moment than where to put a new donation of stash. We have had a watertight, covered 8 'x 12' trailer offered for hauling the things down to Texas (can we say Road Trip!) and to deliver the stuff to these stitchers personally. Several of us from Colorado will be going down at the time so there will be a complete accounting for all donations.

Here is the plan: Once the fire victims who have lost everything have had an opportunity to take what they can use we will arrange for the members of their local quilting group (who were also affected but not to the degree of losing everything) to have an opportunity to take what they can use. If there is anything left at that point we will offer it to the local community to help replace what may have been lost by any stitchers in the area. We are working on establishing a site to set the donations out so that these needlwoman can come and see what is offered/donated. We are working on a method of advertising this opportunity to the community beforehand. It is our intention to come home with an empty trailer.

In the meantime, we have agreed to work on helping to replace precious handmade Christmas ornaments for these fire victims. We would be more than willing to include your ornaments among the donations if you are inclined to make some for them. Everyone will be credited on a list of donors that will be given to the recipients. We are targeting the week of Thanksgiving as the completion date for Christmas ornaments so that we can get them to Texas before Christmas. We will take stash donations between now and the end of the year, to be delivered in person right after the first of the year, hopefully. Exact delivery date will depend on their ability to receive something at the time.

If you would like to help in this effort please contact me privately (if you haven't already) at or call me at 719-392-6303. I will be in touch with you right away with more information and details.

We will post photos and information about the delivery in a future blog post. Please feel free to share our appeal letter with others who might be able to help.

Hugs, Shari

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