Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fire Relief Giveaway

A Stitch In Time

Friday, February 24, 2012 Eric Betts

A group of women who use the Internet to share their passion for needlework with one another have come together to make sure that like-minded hobbyists in the Bastrop area have access to supplies after the Labor Day wildfires.
The members of Stitchmap, an online group, have collected materials to be distributed today to fire victims, says co-owner Shari Jensen. The materials, and members, come from nearly every state and several foreign countries, all of whom found the group at its Yahoo home and identified with its motto, “Keeping Needlearts Alive by Sharing Stitches.”
“Women all over the world share a needle and thread,” Jensen said. Stitchmap helps them share ideas and experience. Lessons are sent to members who sign up, with photos and instructions to follow. They’re encouraged to take pictures and share them with their mentors, who can help them with troublesome spots or make sure the final product was completed correctly.
The group encompasses nearly 30 kinds of needlework, including embroidery, cross-stitching and both crazy and traditional quilting.
“Anything done with a needle that has an eye,” said Jensen.
They also had some firsthand experience with the devastation of the fires. Co-owner Lyn Gaskill lives in Bastrop, and the group has seven members throughout the county, some of whom lost their homes and their stash of needlework supplies in the fire. Originally, Stitchmap had planned to help just its members, but as the donations continued pouring in they realized they could do something more significant and help a lot more people.
After months of collecting materials, Jensen and her husband drove down from their home in Colorado with a truck and trailer full of donated materials – yarns, threads and needles, thousands of magazines and pattern books and what she estimates to be 500 to 600 pounds of fabric. Jensen says they’ve got something for everyone, an array of tools and materials that test the boundaries of the all-inclusive “fibercraft” term.
The highlight of the giveaways are the five sewing machines that will be allocated via a drawing, including both new and used models and one vintage one with its cabinet. Jensen said to enter the drawing, a person would have to provide a FEMA number proving they were affected by the fire. Other materials will be available to anyone who lost supplies in the fire, charitable groups making items to be donated and anyone who would like to learn about needlearts.
The giveaway will be held today at First United Methodist Church in Bastrop, 1201 Main Street, in the Fellowship Hall from noon to 4 p.m. The first 100 people through the door will receive a free small sewing kit. The drawings for the sewing machines will take place at 3 p.m., and winners must be present to receive their prize.
Volunteers will also be available to help teach needlework to anyone who wishes to learn. The group is asking for help unloading the trailer at 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning; anyone who volunteers will have first run at the materials.

That is the article that appeared in Bastrop's newspaper regarding the giveaway.

Shari would like to thank these people:

Lyn G.
Connie K.
Glenda S.
Michele P.
Renee G.
Debbie H.
Patricia H.
Josie T.
Dorothy M.
Claudina H.
Rocky Mountain Crazy Quilt Group
And all the ladies of the Lost Pines Quilt Group, In Stitches Group and the Ladies of Charity from Bastrop for all their help and encouragement.

The trailer was absolutely full as you can see from the photo above. We gave away 5 sewing machines and roughly 8 gift baskets. Everone was thrilled. There was a line waiting at the door to get in that morning. Over 14 volunteers were on the floor at all times to help people with their choices. Michele P. made a wonderful taco soup for the volunteers lunch. Renee G. helped finish organizing the books and magazines with great detail. Connie K. and Claudina H. manned the welcome table. They made sure everyone recieved a Basic Sewing Kit and their drawing tickets. We served over 75 families. The little bit that was remaining was donated to the Ladies of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul Society. They were chosen because the sale of the remaining stash supplies monies will go to the fire victims to help pay utilities and rent deposits.


Arlene White said...

You are all Angels for these people, I am so thrilled to be a very small part of this, I hope this town now can make a full recovery.....

Job well done......


Glenda said...

Reading this makes me so happy :-). I'm glad so many families were helped, and there was a good place for the little bit remaining to go.


shawkl said...

Woot! Woot! Sounds like a roaring success! It's wonderful to know that these ladies/guys will now have some supplies to be creative with! Shari, you did a great job coordinating all of this...and CHEERS to all of the StitchMAP members and friends who donated! Stitchers just have the biggest hearts!!!!

Suztats said...

Wow! This is fantastic! Kudos to all who donated and helped to make this such a success.