A group of Canadian grandmothers are offering Ukrainian refugees a very warm welcome to the Great White North.
As Maureen Carr of Carman, Manitoba watched news reports about the war in Ukraine, her heart went out to the millions of refugees forced to leave their homeland to avoid violence. She felt the urge to help them in some way, so she used the skills at her disposal to do just that.
Maureen is a talented quilter. She decided to call upon her network of mostly-retired older ladies in her community to make quilts for the refugees, many of whom fled their country with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“They have nothing,” said Maureen. “These will be something that belongs to them. If they’re just watching TV or reading a book, they’ve got this quilt to put around them, and be comforted that someone does care.”
She posted a message on Facebook asking for volunteers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never held a needle and thread before, Maureen was determined to put anyone who wanted to help to work. The response was overwhelming, and within a few days, she had up to 20 volunteers at a time working at the local legion hall.
So far, Maureen and her army of quilters have made over 300 quilts! They’re working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress branch in Winnipeg to get the blankets to the refugees as they enter Canada. Each individual, not family, will get a quilt of their own.
“A quilt is not only warmth to the body, but it also gives warmth to the heart and soul, knowing that someone cares,” she said.
While every quilt is as unique as the person who worked on it, they all have one common thread: A patch on the inside of each one that reads “Welcome to Canada. We care.”
Local artist Nigel Bart recently offered up the use of his gallery so that all of the quilts can be displayed to the public before they’re donated. People came from miles away to see the quilts, donating more than $1,500 to cover the costs of the materials and aid Ukrainians entering the country.
“Quilts are immensely symbolic,” said Nigel. “You’re sewing patches, different fabrics together. This is what multiculturalism here in Canada is about.”
What a beautiful way to welcome people to their community! Maureen used her skills to help others, which is something we can all do if we simply make the effort.
Share this story to thank the Manitoban quilters for sharing the warmth — and the love.
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