SMILES: From left, Quilts 4 Kids' Carol Bonamy, Leslie Jarvis, and children's ward volunteer Alison Leaver with Rose.
SMILES: From left, Quilts 4 Kids' Carol Bonamy, Leslie Jarvis, and children's ward volunteer Alison Leaver with Rose.

Stitching 1000 smiles

MORE than 1000 children have been given the gift of colour and joy.

A local quilting group recently celebrated joy of their own, after providing 1000 children with special quilts to brighten their hospital stay.

Over the last 12 years, the Quilts 4 Kids project has been gathering material and creating quilts for sick kids and babies, supported by local charity, Our Kids.

"We recognised that being in hospital is not always a good time, so we thought giving a quilt to the children could help brighten up their bed and they would also have a memory of their stay," Quilts 4 Kids organiser Carol Bonamy said.

The 1000th quilt was gifted recently in the Children's Ward at Lismore Base Hospital to Rose Jarvis from the Central Coast.

Rose was enjoying the first day of her holiday in Ballina when she broke her leg.

Rose and her mum, Leslie, ended up staying in the Children's Ward for the next four weeks.

"The quilt was the first bit of colour Rose had in hospital and something that Rose could have as her own, particularly since she was so far from home," Leslie Jarvis said.

Quilts 4 Kids is a community project started by Diana Cooper in 2006, to provide quilts to children with serious illnesses and who have spent some time in Lismore Base Hospital, and other hospitals.

Support from quilters across the region provides bags for the quilts, donated fabric, and sewing skills, as well as a range of other types of support to ensure there is always a supply of quilts for our most vulnerable patients.

Quilts 4 Kids are always looking for volunteers to make quilts, donate fabric or wadding, or sew backing to finish quilts.

Mrs Bonamy said that the organisation is looking for anyone who is interested in helping out the community and who can volunteer their time to put smiles on children's faces.

The organisation has a lot of fabrics, but not enough hands to put them together into a quilt, and as a result, isn't making as many quilts as they used to.

Mrs Bonamy plans to start a community group which meets monthly to create some quilts.

"We are really looking for people who are interested in making and completing quilts to come along and give us a hand,” she said.

"We always have a wow of a day, and we're all like-minded people.”

She said that even if you are only starting out with quilting, there will be a job for everyone.

Many people have also donated completed, or nearly completed quilts in the past.

She said that when someone donates a quilt to Quilts 4 Kids, most children will write a little thank you note or make a drawing, and the Quilts 4 Kids team will give that to a donor.

"I just love it. We're giving them a hug with a quilt and helping them through a rough time,” she said.

"To get the little stories, and the little thank yous, that's beautiful.”

For more information, including how you can volunteer, contact Carol Bonamy on 0408 644 575 or email Quilts 4 Kids on quilts4kids@hotmail.com.


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