Every Wednesday morning, the multipurpose room at Queen Creek’s Town Hall buzzes. Members of the town’s senior program laugh, talk and dance — but since spring, they’ve been focused on sewing, quilting and wrapping up a project that has them donating more than 100 blankets to wounded U.S. veterans.
Everyone in the group, which includes a few “addicted quilters,” donation gatherers, quilt designers and people who sew, cut fringe and knot quilts, keeps busy and some even take their work home each week.
The group uses every talent in the room of more than 40 people.
Some help by removing straight pins after a quilt is sewn, and others who don’t sew print out poems and Bible verses and tie them onto finished blankets.
Members have made intricately designed quilts, colorful fleece blankets and tie-on bags for wheelchairs and walkers.
“There’s a need, and this will add a little comfort to the situation,” said Gwen Hayes, a member of the group who helped merge a local quilting group with the senior program. “We’re sending love and comfort.”
Senior program participant Judi Eckhoff, who has been soliciting donations of money and materials for the project, said it feels good to know she is helping others.
“Its been fun,” Eckhoff said. “With so many people involved, we get people who would normally not talk to each other and when they work together they get to know each other. Everybody is so caring about everybody else.”
Dolores Macfarland has an industrial sewing machine at home and helps make the wheelchair and walker bags. “I like to make things fast,” she said.
With a deadline quickly approaching, Macfarland’s speediness is helpful.
The Arizona commander of the American Legion, along with the American Legion Riders, will be visiting the seniors Sept. 6 to collect the blankets and bags and deliver them to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas as part of the Operation Wounded Warrior Program.
Peter Entinger, a group member who’s bought material to donate for the blankets, said though he’s never served in the military, this project is a way for him to give back.
“What happened to these people is so unfortunate, and it will affect them for the rest of their lives,” he said. “I thought if I can do something to brighten their lives, I can show my appreciation for what they’ve done for me and for the country.”