Quilt campaign officially wraps up tomorrow, but Sept. 26 Monkland event is last chance for shipment to Fort Mac

Some of the collected quilts assembled at the 2016 Stormont County Fair. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

MONKLAND — The local thread of a national quilting drive in support of Fort McMurray officially wraps up tomorrow (Sept. 15), but quilt-makers will have one last chance to deliver their handiwork for shipment, Sept. 26.

The Highland Quilters Guild welcomes all to join them 7 p.m. that evening at the Monkland Community Centre for the final round-up of donated quilts.

Apple Hill Quilting & Designs proprietor Monique Wilson spearheaded the local initiative last spring, after learning of the nation-wide drive to provide quilts as gifts to the families of the Alberta town devastated by massive wildfires earlier this year. Wilson, the area’s local Canadian Quilters Association representative and founder of the Highland guild, knew all too well from personal experience what it was like to lose one’s home to fire.

From there, the effort has spooled up and looped in numerous area quilters, including those affiliated with the Upper Canada and Cornwall quilters’ guilds. Many of the dozens of quilts collected to date were displayed at the recent Stormont County Fair.

“I currently have 50 quilts in my possession and expecting at least thirty [more] in the next few weeks,” Wilson said in a Sept. 14 email to Nation Valley News.

QuiltSource Canada will ship the local quilts to Fort Mac after the final Sept. 26 collection in Monkland. Update: Wilson now says she’s looking for a new shipper as the original provider has reached their limit.

Quilts for Fort McMurray, based in southern Alberta, has been distributing donated quilts — arriving from across the country — to families whose homes were destroyed in the inferno. One of three founders of the initiative, Wilma Mulder of Lethbridge, Alta., told Nation Valley News that they’ve received over 3,000 quilts so far. “Not just from across the country and North America but around the world,” said Mulder, adding that quilts have been shipped in from as far away as Australia, as well as France and other parts of Europe.

And while the local campaign may be ending, Mulder said they will continue accepting quilts at their end “for as long as they keep coming or until we reach our goal of 88,000 — one for each resident of Fort McMurray who lost their home in the fire.”

And not every quilt ends up going to Fort McMurray, she pointed out, because those displaced by the fire include people living all over Canada. As long as those families are willing to pay shipping, Quilts for Fort McMurray — after verifying their burned-out address — will send them a donated quilt. “We were just contacted by a family of three now living in Ontario but we had to tell them we currently don’t have any quilts to send them,” she reported.

This article was edited to reflect further information provided by Wilma Multer of Lethbridge, Alta.

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