By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
MOUNT PLEASANT — Ladies for Charity at St. Alphonsus Parish-Mount Pleasant are used to doing nice things for people; charity is part of their name after all. So when they had an enormous amount of fabric left over from a project in which they made clothing for impoverished families in Africa, the ladies decided to turn the scraps into another service project.
This time, the fabric creations would stay a little closer to home. The women decided to make simple quilts to give to teenage residents at nearby Christamore Family Treatment Center.
“I had mentioned to the ladies that when my husband and I used to go to Texas for the winter ladies in the community would make quilts for some of the (in-need) people in the area,” said Donna Tousignant, president of St. Alphonsus Ladies for Charity. “I saw how happy it made them to receive those blankets. The kids just wrapped themselves up in them!”
The Mount Pleasant group was already familiar with Christamore, which provides treatment services for at-risk adolescents and their families. The treatment center’s residential program supports 16 teenage residents through on-campus schooling, psychiatric services and medication management in a safe environment. In the past, Ladies for Charity has donated money for staff members to purchase appropriate Christmas presents for the residents. Tousignant said, “Christamore helps troubled teens, kids who fall through the cracks and can’t get by in any other school or home situation.”
She added that the residents don’t have many possessions when they graduate or age out of the program, so the ladies’ group thought a simple, easy-to-wash quilt could prove beneficial and comforting. “A lot of these kids don’t have anyone. …When they go out on their own, this at least gives them something to keep them warm,” Tousignant said.
Not all of the Ladies for Charity members can quilt, but because the group chose to make the quilts with simple squares, everyone who wanted to be involved could do something. Some cut the squares, others sewed them together, added backing or sewed in ties to keep the filling from becoming lopsided over time.
So far, the ladies have sewn 12 quilts and given one away. When they delivered it to Christamore Program Director Stephanie Stubbs earlier this year, “she was just tickled,” Tousignant recalled. The Ladies for Charity will be able to give away more quilts in the coming months as Stubbs said several residents are on track to graduate or age out.
The group still has plenty of leftover fabric to use, and Tousignant said that “as long as our little sewers keep up, we’ll keep making quilts!”