Thursday, March 29, 2012

Texas Donations Delivered & Distributed

The Texas Fire Relief Effort is now in the history books. I believe it can be classified as a big success. DH and I left Colorado on Feb. 21 with plans to meet up with Glenda S.and her husband, along with Connie K. and Claudina C. in Ballinger, TX on the morning of the 22nd.

We were able to fit everything that Glenda brought from her Texas donors into the back of the trailer we were pulling. It was a close fit but it worked, lol. Unfortunately Glenda and her DH had to return to San Angelo right away so we had very little time to visit.

The rest of us continued on into Bastrop and arrived safely that afternoon. I called Lyn G. and Debbie H. to let them know we arrived safely and plans were made to get together the next morning for a tour of downtown Bastrop. We had a chance to meet the local quilt shop owners and the merchants who supported our effort by handing out our flyers. After a wonderful lunch we parted ways so that Lyn and I could meet with the local newspaper editor.

The next morning Lyn picked me up and we were able to go to the Methodist Church to meet with Michele P., and check out the Fellowship Hall where the giveaway would be held on Saturday. I was delighted to see the room was large and had all the amenities we could have ever hoped for.

Thursday evening Debbie held a small reception for those of us from Colorado. It was an opportunity to meet many of the ladies from Lone Pine Quilters who had helped Lyn with the Christmas Stocking & Stash giveaway last winter. Debbie's home was lost in the fires and we were thrilled to be invited to tour her new home, which she had only been living in for less than 10 days. Here you see Claudina, Lyn, myself and Bobbie, an LPQ member whose family lost 3 homes to the fire, talking in Debbie's new kitchen dining area.

On Saturday morning we were met at the church by over a dozen volunteers. Many of them were Stitchmap members. They had come from Austin, Elgin, Houston, Bastrop, and Kileen. Everyone was eager to help and had brought their most cheerful attitudes. They had that trailer unloaded in record time so that they could spend more time getting things organized before the doors would open at noon. Here you can see the room from two different angles and how the ladies had their work cut out for them when it came to getting the donations out of the boxes and onto the tables. It is hard to believe that I had all this stuff in my house for the past 6 months. No wonder my daughter thought I had become a hoarder!

Here you can see Debbie, Bobbie and Lyn starting on the quilting books and fabrics. We had over 400 pounds of fabric donated and Lyn managed to get every piece out onto a table or bags that she had covered the floor with to lay them on. It was a real task.

In this picture you can see Renee G. (the beautiful redhead in the center)talking with someone about what to do next. I have to commend Renee for the great job she did getting the 2000 pattern books and magazines organized by subject matter and technique. She kept working those boxes of books over all day. She helped so many people find what they were looking for.

Once the doors were opened at noon, Claudina and Connie were there to welcome our guests. They had each person sign in and gave each person 5 door prize drawing tickets. They also gave each person a drawstring bag full of basic sewing supplies. I must say that they were our "first impression" and they did a great job making everyone feel welcome and important.

Here are some of the guests making their selections. Each person was greeted by a volunteer who explained to them that they were welcome to whatever they needed and they explained to them how to use their door prize drawing tickets.

At 3 o'clock we held our drawing for the gift baskets and totes and the 5 sewing machines. This picture is cut off a bit on one side, missing some baskets but it is a good representation of the door prizes offered.

We had a gift basket for almost every technique - cross stitch, CQ, traditional quilting, knitting, crochet, beading, needlepoint, embroidery, and we even had one for a Christmas Stitcher There was a lap loom, a scroll frame and an Anchor floss cabinet donated also. We had 2 used sewing machines, 2 more used machines but they were in cabinets (one even had a stool), and 1 brand new sewing machine to give away. Here are some of our door prize drawing winners and a little bit about a few of them.

The winner of our Cross Stitcher's tote was a very sweet gal.

This young lady and her husband were volunteer firefighters who spent the first 2 days of the September fires helping others to save their homes. They came home the second day to find their own home burned to the ground. I was touched at how lovingly she stroked the cabinet of this sewing machine while she told me she would use it to make new curtains for their new home. She also was serving as a volunteer for collection of clothing for fire victims.

This lady is a very happy quilter now that she has a sewing machine again.

This woman loves Christmas and making gifts of her needlework for others. She was delighted to win our Christmas Stitcher's Basket.

A happy knitter with her prize.

Dad and the boys came to pick up stitching supplies for mom who was having chemo therapy treatments that afternoon. How delighted they were when they won the tote bag of quilting supplies with the iron for her also. Dad stayed after to help take the leftover items to the Ladies of Charity because my husband had sold the trailer that afternoon and we had no way to get the stuff to the thrift store without help.

Each person who came left with a generous amount of stash to help them get back to their favorite form of stitching.

We had given away about 90% of what had been donated. The remaining 10% was donated to the Ladies of Charity Thrift Shop in Bastrop per the recommendation of Lyn and Michele. Even though they closed on Saturdays at noon They had agreed to send a volunteer back to the shop to receive our donation that evening because they understood that we had no place to store it even overnight and that we would be leaving town the next morning. They also assured us that any money made from the sale of the items would go to help the fire victims who needed assistance with utility or rent deposits.

If you are reading this and were one of the many generous persons from all over the world who donated to this effort......THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. It was AWESOME! Thank you for trusting me to get the job done and I hope you approve of the results.

Hugs, Shari