“Welcome To Canada. We Care”: Volunteers Craft Over 300 Quilts For Ukrainian Refugees

Hello, you beautiful panda! I hope your day is full of bamboo and warmth. Speaking of heat…

Whether it’s a loving reminder of childhood or an imitation of a comforting hug, the blanket holds a significant place in all of our hearts. It is a hiding place from whatever evil the world can and will throw at you. A place of fantasy and play. A companion on cold, rainy nights and a picnic blanket for sunny afternoons. For those who have very little or have lost almost everything, it can be a nice comfort. And this is where the story comes in!

Talented ladies from southern Manitoba, Canada banded together to make quilts for Ukrainian families arriving in the province, adding notes to say, “Welcome to Canada. We’ll take care of it!” Get the tissues, these are pretty healthy…

Before we start pandas dear, don’t forget to leave your thoughts below, follow the author for more good stuff, and vote for the story if you enjoyed it! Thank you and let’s finally get started on this!

More information: Facebook

An initiative to make quilts for Ukrainian refugees coming to Canada was launched, bringing together the talent and skills of dozens of volunteers, mostly retirees

Credit: Maureen Carr

Dozens of volunteers, most of whom are retired women from Carman and the surrounding communities, have worked tirelessly for weeks to give a warm welcome to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.

The initiative was organized by Maureen Carr last month. She told the CBC that she saw a news story about the war in Ukraine and felt compelled to help her in any way she could.

An idea came up and Maureen called the local legion, who immediately offered to use the hall for the quilt-making workshops two days a week. Now all she needed was talented hands to help her craft.

It was organized by Maureen Carr, who had seen the coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War and wanted to help somehow

Credit: Maureen Carr

Calling for action on Facebook, Maureen said: “We will start making quilts at 9am on March 15th at the Legion Aux Hall in Carman. Please note that you do not have to be a quilter. If you can sew, we can use you to assemble. If you don’t know how to sew we can have you make the quilts and if you work and can’t participate we can always use donations to cover the cost of the batting.” The answer was one she wasn’t expecting.

Dozens of people came to participate with great interest. Maureen told CBC that 15 to 20 volunteers showed up at each quilting session, with “about six to 12 women working the sewing machines on one side,” while others helped iron, bind and “sandwich” layers of fabric into quilts.

She called the local legion, who allowed her to use the hall for the workshops, and a Facebook post later the volunteers rushed over

Credit: Maureen Carr

The initiative brought everyone together – experts in their craft and enthusiastic beginners to help iron, tie and ‘sandwich’ layers of fabric into blankets

Credit: Maureen Carr

I myself have an incredibly limited knowledge of quilting or sewing in general. So I dipped a toe in the bottomless pool of information and boy oh boy the artistry can’t be underestimated.

Quilting is the process of joining at least three layers of fabric together, inviting a variety of effects through the manipulation of material type and thickness, stitch length and style, pattern design, assembly and cutting. From 2D to 3D designs to adding elements like beads, pearls, buttons and sequins, the possibilities seem endless.

Emma Jeffery has detailed all the steps required to make a simple quilt, let alone one that is highly detailed or fancy, and it’s a doddle for the untrained person. But everything can be learned! Especially when you’re part of a welcoming and warm community like this.

Quilting is a craft that takes practice, patience and time, yet it has exceeded all expectations

Credit: Maureen Carr

“Many hands make easy work” because in just 6 days the group had made an amazing 130 quilts and blankets

Credit: Maureen Carr

“Many hands make easy work,” Maureen said. Within just six days of beginning the effort, the group produced a staggering 130 quilts and afghans (crocheted or knitted blankets).

The quilts and blankets range in patterns, colors and sizes. From baby blankets to queen size blankets so everyone gets their own instead of just giving out one per family. “You have nothing. This will be theirs,” Maureen explained.

“If they’re just watching TV or reading a book, they have this quilt to wrap around and know that someone is taking care of it.” The seamstresses placed a message on the back of each quilt: a small heart-shaped patch with the inscription “Welcome to Canada. We take care.”

I don’t think there are many gifts that are as full of love as a handmade quilt that can be passed from one generation to the next. A lovely gift indeed.

Credit: Maureen Carr

“This will be theirs,” Maureen explained. “They have this blanket to put on and the comfort of knowing someone is taking care of it.”

Credit: Maureen Carr

Credit: Maureen Carr

A small exhibition of her work was held in early April, attracting over 140 curious people who not only praised the quilts but also donated some of their own

Credit: Maureen Carr

In early April, the volunteers held a small exhibition of their work at the Carman Active Living Center, where over 140 people came to carefully examine and admire the handicrafts on display, but that’s not all. Several people brought their own finished quilts and blankets, and others donated fabric for future pieces.

Maureen said in a Facebook post that “the generosity was overwhelming. I really don’t know how to thank everyone. When we had our quilt exhibition people were very generous with donations and any money left over at the end of this project will directly benefit the Ukrainian refugees.”

Credit: Maureen Carr

“I’m impressed with the way the community works together here,” said Nigel Bart, an artist who oversees the gallery of the Golden Prairie Arts Council in Carman. He continued: “There is this swarm intelligence. You are really in tune. Quilts are immensely symbolic.”

“You sew patches, different fabrics together. That’s what multiculturalism is about here in Canada.” He will continue to take photos of the work and post them all online for all of us to see once the initiative is complete.

The main question was how to get the quilts into the hands of the Ukrainians, but they found a solution

Credit: Maureen Carr

The only fork in the road was actually figuring out how to get the quilts into the hands of the Ukrainians. They have recently contacted the Winnipeg branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, who will notify them if they hear of any newcomers.

The current plan is to get people with empty vehicles to stop at Maureen’s home and fill her up with blankets. Her couriers include a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who holds services in the Carman area twice a month, and hockey fans who travel to Jets games.

Credit: Maureen Carr

The initiative continues and really shows the power we have when we come together. We wish everyone good luck and happy sewing!

Credit: Maureen Carr

The initiative goes on. The most recent post revealed that they are currently at 331 quilts and afghans. Encouraging everyone to get involved, Maureen said: “Anyone who wants to come and help is more than welcome,” before adding with a chuckle, “If you don’t quilt or sew at all, we can get you sewing if you really want to.” .”

The quilt group meets every Monday and Tuesday at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 18 in Carman. Monetary and cloth donations are welcome, and everyone is welcome to help!

The war continues to shatter the lives of innocent people. So if you want to support Ukraine, here is a list of resources.

I hope you all enjoyed this story and I look forward to reading your minds. Have a wonderful day, dearest pandas! See you all next time and happy crafting!

People were touched by this initiative and the sharing of love. Leave us your thoughts below!

Leave a Comment