Quilters sow love through sewing for needy children


Judy Eberle, left, Ann Wassell, Joyce Barry, Ellie Yelle, Virginia Shear, Rich Franck, Cindy Mitchell, Patty Hurst, Beverly DeMeyer, Tara Pagliarini, Dona Guindon, Mary Novak, Marilyn Melinski and Jean LaPoint are all involved with Quilts of Love sponsored by St. David’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.

Courtesy of St. David’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church

When the call went out this year for quilters to provide Quilts of Love for children who have very precious little to call their own, Brevard quilters responded.

They answered with beautiful handmade quilts for the sewing project started a quarter of a century ago by St. David’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Cocoa Beach.

“There were 216 quilters participating this year, the most ever,” said St. David’s member Jeanne Weaver.

The fact that so many answered the call was unexpected. The fact that Quilts of Love continues to thrive after so many years is amazing.

“It is not very often that a volunteer service lasts beyond its founder,”  Weaver added.

Twenty-five years ago, St. David’s parishioner Polly Atkinson floated the idea of a ministry that would sew quilts to distribute to local organizations serving children who are often pulled out of their homes with nothing.

“She wanted the children who have been taken from their homes to have something, to have that pride of ownership feeling,” said St. David’s parishioner Ellie Yelle.

Atkinson was assisted in the endeavor by Marilyn Flanigan and Virginia Shear. Both Atkinson and Flanigan have passed away, but the project they helped nurture continues to thrive with the help of Gerri Ayres, who has been a part of Quilts of Love for a decade.

The premise is simple. You sew quilts and you give them to the kids because a lovingly made, child-sized quilt is more than just a nicely sewn cloth. They serve to remind these youngsters that they are loved, even by strangers.

“Children who live in foster homes, homeless shelters or children’s homes don’t always have a feeling of ownership,” explained Weaver.

The quilts are the result of a grassroots effort that, beyond St. David’s, encompasses groups such as Riverside Presbyterian Church and local senior centers, including the Martin Andersen Senior Center in Rockledge.

Each year, six nonprofits are selected to receive the quilts. In 2019, the 200-plus quilts were distributed to children at Devereux, Genesis House, Family Promise of Brevard, the Salvation Army Domestic Violence Shelter, Nana’s House and Serene Harbor.

At St. David’s, the little quilts are considered blessed because they are the messengers of a very precious emotion: love.

For additional information on Quilts of Love, contact Yelle at 321-783-3992.

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