A group of local woman who have been working hard to help warm up Prince Albert’s homeless presented a special handmade quilt to the Moose Lodge Warming Shelter on Wednesday to mark their 1,000th donation.
The women belong to the Trefoil Unit of Girl Guides and for the last nine years, the group has committed themselves to sewing warm, thick quilts made of donated jeans with some help from teenage Girl Guides and volunteers from Abbeyfield House.
“I had to do something and I felt this is what I was supposed to do,” said Margaret Ferguson, who began making quilts in her basement after her husband’s passing in 2012. “We’re all in this community together.”
Ferguson was soon joined by others and they began divvying up the workload, allowing the group to increase their yearly donations from 40 quilts to over 100.
The 1,000 handmade quilts given to Moose Lodge were made possible through community effort, with denim donations from Value Village and unsold materials given to the group from Fabric Land helping to support them in their effort to warm Prince Albert’s homeless.
“Nobody when they were small said I’m going to grow up to be homeless on the street,” said Ferguson. “Everybody deserves to be warm.”
Natalie Clyke, coordinator for Prince Albert Grand Council Urban Services, said the quilts provide an opportunity for the community to be involved in directly impacting those in need through acts of kindness.
“That blanket is what provides the opportunity for a wellness check, so that they come back the next day,” said Clyke, who explained that the blankets are particularly beneficially to those that are ‘living rough’ and need to protect themselves against the elements.
“For us that have that resource, it’s dignity. For so many, when they ask for something and they’re told no, during the short period of time that they’re in our care, we can say yes,” said Clyke. “That’s going to help on a cellular level [and] help them recognize that it’s okay to ask for help.”
Ferguson said the group is just happy to see that their gifts are keeping people warm.
“These quilts were given with no strings attached and it warms our hearts when we see a quilt around the shoulders of somebody or a quilt in a cardboard box against a building,” she said.
While the future of the special 1,000th quilt is not yet set in stone, one of Clyke’s suggestions included writing down the names of individuals that visited Moose Lodge that have passed on, on each of the quilt’s patches and displaying it proudly inside the facility to show connection between everyone in the community.