Thanks to the generosity and talent of over a dozen area quilters, some new mommys will be snuggling their infants under beautiful, handmade quilts.
The Quilted Crow, a new quilt shop in Lehighton, launched a local "Quilts for Kids" project through the shop. The owners of the shop, Jane Heckman and Cindy Mengel-Smith, purchased the fabric and made it available at no charge to quilters interested in making baby-sized quilts.
The finished quilts are being donated to Care Net, a Christ-centered community resource that provides support to those facing pregnancy and encourages healthy choices in sexuality, fertility and parenting.
The project ties into The Quilted Crow's mission statement, to give back to the community.
"We believe that as a shop we live in relationship with the whole community and surrounding area," said Heckman. "One of the reasons people quilt is to give comfort to those in need. We hope by giving these quilts for kids to Care Net that lots of children receive the warmth and comfort (the quilts) have to offer.
"When my business partner and I first conceived of the idea of opening a quilt shop, giving to people in need was at the top of the list of our desires."
Accepting 20 completed quilts recently was Suzi DeMara, director of Care Net of Carbon County. She explained that while the quilts will be made available to new and expectant moms, those mothers-to-be will have to earn them.
DeMara said that whenever a mother comes for a one-on-one session with a counselor at Care Net, she earns $20 in "Mommy Money." If she requests "homework," she can earn more "Mommy Money," which can be spent in Care Net's boutique, which offers items for new and expectant parents. The items in the boutique are only available for "sale" with "Mommy Money" or "Daddy Dollars."
When new or expectant dads come in with their partner, the value doubles, and they earn "Daddy Dollars." Women are encouraged to get their boyfriends or husbands involved. On average, DeMara said that for every 10 women in the program, eight will bring their boyfriends.
"We don't want distant dads," said DeMara. "A baby needs emotional security; and for his or her parents to be in a loving, committed relationship."
While the fabric for the quilts was donated by the shop owners, the hours of time to stitch and machine-quilt each one was donated by volunteers,who also provided backing fabric and batting.
Heckman said customers of the shop were notified of the project through the quilt shop's monthly newsletter in January and February of this year.
"We like doing things for the community," added Heckman.
"We are so thankful for this donation," said DeMara. "The guys and girls in our community that are working hard and earning Mommy Money and Daddy Dollars through our educational programs will be able to purchase these quilts for their children in our 'Earn while you learn program.'"
Heckman said there is still fabric available for anyone who would like to make a quilt to donate to Care Net.
This isn't the first time the owners of The Quilted Crow have reached out to others.
Last October, shortly after opening, the shop sponsored a quilt block challenge in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Over a dozen quilt blocks, each with a unique design and statement were created by area quilters, in honor or memory of a friend or family member who suffered from breast cancer. A contest was held and customers voted for their favorite block with donations for breast cancer.
This fall, the blocks will be auctioned off by a breast cancer survivor, who is raising funds to participate in a three-mile walk.