Quilters touch the lives of hospice house patients, families

Sep 10,2013
A group of volunteer quilters regularly touch the lives of patients and families using the Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House, by donating handmade quilts.

With help from the Albany-based business, the Quilt Loft, volunteers have already donated 123 quilts to the hospice house in 2013, which needs about 20 quilts a month in order to give one to every family.

“This is such a great way for us to give back to the hospice house for the work they do in the community,” said Judy Duerstock, a quilter who started the program in 2012. “For volunteers, keeping busy doing something we love provides therapy in a way very few people understand.”

Thanks to a partnership with the Quilt Loft, Duerstock now has about 10 regular quilters working on the hospice quilts. “But we’d love more — and some men to join us!” said Duerstock.

“Patients and loved ones are both touched by the quilts,” said Barbara Hansen, manager of Samaritan Evergreen Hospice. She recalls one patient who came to the hospice house four times in six months, bringing her quilt each time. Another family had a new baby on the way, and the hospice quilt was used as the baby blanket.

“It seems so small, but it is incredibly meaningful,” said Hansen. “I hope the quilters know what a comfort their handiwork is.”

Free classes are offered for those who want to learn how to make a hospice quilt. “It’s actually a really great way to learn,” said Karen Roberts, owner of the Quilt Loft. “The classes for the hospice quilts are free and the fabric is donated.”

Experienced quilters are also welcome at the hospice workshops. “Moderate sewers can usually finish a top in one session,” said Roberts.

The Quilt Loft offers donated fabric and free patterns for those interested in making quilts for hospice. Community members are welcome to drop off fabric, batting or even completed quilt tops at the Quilt Loft.

Quilters, and those who have always wanted to learn, are invited to the Quilt Loft the first Saturday of each month to make quilts to donate to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House. Call the Quilt Loft at 541-928-7242 to learn more.