Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Years Post Katrina, The Hurricane that Started it All!

Ten years ago I wanted to go to New Orleans and help where I could with the 911 centers that needed some relief. I had other priorities and my husband suggested I make and send quilts. I did and after years of doing it on my own, I realized I needed help and thus, Layers Of Hope, Quilting 911 was given a name and I have been blessed to be able to reach out to so many of our 'unseen heroes,' during their time of need as well as family members and first responder's during so many difficult times in their lives.

 So many people ask me why do I do this? Why quilts? I do this because I grew up with a grandmother who believed you gave back to those in need and while we may not have much, she told me you can always find someone who has less! I do this because in the midst of tragedy or disaster, a quilt brings a small slice of warmth, hope and love to a complete stranger. Perhaps I do it for small children like Eliza whose letter I still have: Eliza wrote:
'I love the quilt color and size and I sleep with it every night and share it with my sister.' PS, 'Our dad is a policeman.' 

In ten years of doing this, Eliza's letter was the first I ever received from a child. Why quilts? Because I do NOT have unlimited funding like Red Cross, United Way and other non-profits, because we operate out of our own pockets and I do not have a warehouse to store things, I do not own semi's to transport anything and quilts just seem to make people smile. 

Maybe I do it because when you give a quilt to a first responder who gives so much to everyone else and they realize that quilt is for them to keep and they look at you with tears flowing down their cheeks, I realize why I do this! 

When people have blankets given to them and they choose a quilt we gave them to sleep under or even hang on a wall to remind them to never give up hope, I realize why I do this!

In a time when our world seems to be falling apart and complete strangers trust me to do what I say I will and send me quilts to pass out, I realize why I do this!

When a family loses a family member to a tragedy and contacts me and asks to reach out to a family that recently is suffering the same pain, agony and tragic loss they did, I realize why I do this!

Gods hands have been on this ministry since day one and I will continue to do what I can to help others until I can no longer do so!

Today, if you are reading this, it means you have more right now that many people who are affected by the wildfires across our states. 

You may not quilt, but I ask today that you spend some time hugging your family tighter and reaching out to someone that needs hope in their life!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So Blessed

As of right now, I only have one quilt left that needs adopting for the family members of the three fallen fire fighters. 

Before you click on this post and think to yourself, 'I know someone else will step up, maybe next time.' Ask yourself why is it you feel this way?

How many times have you read about a need like this and passed it up over and over again thinking, next time, next disaster, someone else will do and when you are asking yourself this question, dig deeper and ask yourself, 'would I want someone to say that during my time of need?'

We all do it at one time or another. But how many times have you passed up that opportunity to bless someone?

I know so many of us are busy with work schedules, taking care of our families, helping at church, volunteering, babysitting grandchildren, etc..

But if you are a quilter and have quilts stacked up nice and neatly around your home, please think about sparing one for a family member of a fallen fire fighter.

Perhaps you have lost a sibling or loved one to a fire or who was a first responder and reaching out to someone else who is going through the pain you have will let them know someone truly cares.

I find during these times of need, the same quilters step forward all the time and say, 'I can make one more for you if you need me to.'
For those I am grateful and humbled, but if you haven't donated a quilt to Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 for a fire fighter or their family member, please, do not pass up this opportunity. 

These brave me and women deserve something to tell them you care and are thankful for the job they do.



Monday, August 24, 2015

WANTED...Three Amazing Quilters

I have lost a child, he was 18 months old and this was over 33 years ago, but the hole in my heart has never and will never heal.

What I cannot imagine is losing a child that has lived 10, 20 or more years when you have really got to be closer than ever, watched them grow, become what their dreams were made of.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I need at least three very special quilters to step up and take on special projects of making quilts for the parents, wives and any siblings of two of the three firefighters who died last week in Okanogan County, WA.

I say two, because one of the families has been adopted by a family that knows the pain of losing a child to one of these fires as they lost a son, brother, dad, husband to one when the Granite Mountain firefighters perished two years ago.

I cannot imagine their pain, but to step up and say, let us do this, let us reach out to one of our own, all I can do is cry and the amazing gift this family will receive during this loss.

None of us can ever replace a loved one, but I can tell you from my own personal experience, I met many families over the years that lost a child and I could reach out to them, I could hold them and talk to them, because I have been there and while it never takes away all the pain, it helps to have someone who has been in your shoes.

So, are you that quilter? Can you take bits and pieces of someone's life you read about and turn it into a quilt of healing and hope?
Can you share your amazing talents with someone you have never met and say to them...this is for you, though we may never meet, you are on my mind and in my heart?

If you are, let me know please.

As stated earlier, one of the families has been spoken for, please do not come to me and ask for a specific family as that family may have already been adopted.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Do NOT Send Directly to Okanogan County!

Normally, I say this at the beginning of my request for collections, but it slipped my mind until someone told me they heard on the radio that Okanogan County, does not want stuff shipped to them and that is 100% correct!  DO NOT send quilts directly to Okanogan County.

I know you want to help and somehow make it easier on me or cut out the middle, but honestly they have no place to begin to store hundreds or even thousands of boxes of stuff and trust me, during Oso tragedy, I was given a tour of what stuff gets sent and sometimes it is not good, it is as if someone said, 'oh wait, let me check my trash can!'

Please understand that I worked in the field of emergency communications for over thirteen years as a 911 operator, trainer and as a Civilian Emergency Response Team member. I know how important it is to wait and let things go back to whatever the new normal will be before I go rushing up there to drop off quilts.

The area is still on fire, many fires, many acres burned, fire fighters have died, homes have been lost, hotshot crews flew in from New Zealand and Australia to help put these fires out, it is a very dangerous place to be right now. Shipping boxes now could bring more dangers as they could be placed in an area that could burn.

I have connections in the area. I have been in contact with those that help others and they have told me they need quilts, but they do not know how many they will need as the fires are still burning.

My contact told me they are working closely with the area around Lake Chelan that has been burned and is burning and it will take awhile for them to get back to me on exact numbers needed, but I do know we will need to have many on hand when they ask us to bring them up.

I am patient and that is why I gave a deadline for end of September to mid October, hoping to have many to deliver by then and to be given the okay to travel to the area.

Please understand this is huge. Homes have been lost, lives have been lost, animals have been lost, warehouses and businesses have been lost and this isn't Seattle, Chicago, Phoenix or even Portland where they can set up shop and start over again. This is a sparsely populated area where there isn't any extra places to store things.

That is why, I ask early to begin our collections and then I wait patiently to be invited to come and drop off what we have. I work closely with those that know to set up a date and time for drop off and it has been working this way since Hurricane Katrina ten years ago.

I hope this helps you to understand more how I operate!

Be Wary of Scammers

Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 is Washington state trademarked and I am working on getting a 100% trademark, so please, do NOT use our logo without permission.

With that said, Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 does not actively use any type of fund raising for money, we rely 100% on the generosity of our readers, supporters and quilters and will occasionally generate an account with social media to raise funds. We have NOT pursued that this year at all.

I say this, because we mainly collect quilts, fabric, thread, tools for quilting to help our 911 community and our communities during disasters. I would prefer quilts but at times we may ask for funds to help support mailing or travel expenses.

I am saying this in the rare case that someone may call or contact you asked for money for Layers of Hope, please, do NOT give, contact me immediately as I do not want anyone using us to scam people for money.

Now, with that said, if you would like to 'borrow,' our logo to print up a flier for a local quilt, fabric or yarn shop, please contact me and I will send you a copy that you can use.

I can assure you, the quilts you send, do go to those in need! The money were blessed with last year paid for our logo, stationary, postage, fabric and travel expenses to Oso and Okanogan County.

We are NOT a non-profit, we just do NOT make a profit.

Scammer will always be out there, be wary is all I am asking!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Please Help Okanogan County, Please Send Quilts!

Our fires are out of control, our firefighters are exhausted, the US Army is training soldiers how to fight fires to relieve our fire fighters and today we learned that hotshot teams from Australia and New Zealand are on their way to help us.

I live over five and a half hours away from the fires in Okanogan County, over 296 miles and this is what it looks like from my front porch just a few minutes ago.

No, my neighbor does not have a fire going in his yard

Smoke hanging in the trees and the hazy sky

 We need your help! The residents who live in these areas are being evacuated daily, they do not know if their homes are still standing or where they will go if they are not.  Their animals are displaced, they can't go to work and the fires rage on.

If you are reading this, if your skies are blue, if you are blessed to be in your home right now and if you can quilt, knit or crochet, I am begging you to help us get blankets to these families, to the exhausted hotshot teams and fire fighters....PLEASE HELP!!

The sun engulfed in smoke

The sun in a hazy sky

 I have only heard of things like this in my life time. My mom lived through it years ago when northern CA was on fire, they packed their RV drove it to a safer location, packed their old Mercury and then sealed their windows and doors and waited to be evacuated.
Lucky for them, the fires did not reach their town.

All around us are smaller fires, a family in Onalaska lost their entire chicken farm when it burnt to the ground this week. People are watering their lawns trying to keep them from going up just from lawn mower sparks.

Can you see the sun clearly? Are your skies blue? Can you breath in fresh air?  If you said yes, please, please consider sending quilts so I can get them up to these areas.

Know this about Okanogan County, it is the largest county land wise in our state, however, population wise, it is not. So these people losing homes, will not have an apartment to rent, a house to purchase, a friend to go to because there aren't any and sadly this is the second year in a row this county has been devastated.

Please, mail quilts, blankets to:
Layers of Hope - Quilting 911
18740 Ivan Street SW
Rochester, WA  98579

Yes, Red Cross is in the area, but I saw how Red Cross operates and FEMA in these areas when the Oso landslide hit last year. The swoop in, set up camp, help for a few days to a few weeks and are gone again to help the next disaster.

Your quilts will last forever and be a blessing to those who receive them!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Help Okanogan County with a Quilt or Donation

I don't like just taking money and giving nothing back, it kind of doesn't feel right to me.

I know many of you do not have time to quilt or make blankets, who does with school and work banging at our doors all the time?

But for a few dollars, you can help support Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 to get quilts to those in Okanogan County, simply by heading over to our Etsy shop and making a small purchase. 

We have quilts, bags, hats and lots of key fobs to choose from and stuff is being added frequently.

I just added Paypal to my Etsy site to make it easier.