"I don't know what I'd do without you."
Heartland Quilters President Doris Toews says she received that comment from one of the five organizations who received some of their 125 handmade quilts Wednesday afternoon. The organizations included Steinbach Family Resource Centre, MCC, Project Linus, Quilts of Valour and Siloam Mission.
Edith Taylor is the Quilts of Valour Canada Manitoba representative and says it's overwhelming to be receiving around 48 quilts to give to soldiers who have come home and are in need of hope and encouragement.
"A lot of [the soldiers], they don't think anyone cares and they're alone, and they're depressed, and they're unhappy because life just isn't treating them the way they expected anymore. To have somebody that's a total stranger make a quilt for them just blows them away, it really makes them so happy."
Taylor adds the ladies at Heartland Quilters must work day and night to make as many quilts as they do and says to be one of the organizations blessed by their work is wonderful.
Elizabeth Brigham is the Events Coordinator and Community Liaison with Siloam Mission and says each of the quilts they receive go to their Madison House, a place where individuals who have turned 18 and are coming out of the foster care system with no job experience, education or community can find care, support and shelter.
"For a lot of the people that stay there, this is the first them they've ever experienced a gift, warmth and, especially, a gift made with love. It's very important and it really restores dignity and respect within a lot of the people we serve. One blanket, I think a lot of them might use words like hope, encouragement, and love. Those are words that they haven't experienced very often and feelings they haven't experienced. So it truly means the world."
Brigham adds, while standing in the room full of quilts, she could feel the love and dedication put into each one adding each quilt given to a Madison House resident will be treasured.
Janice Kostash is the Southeast Coordinator with Project Linus and says each quilt will be given to a child who is ill or traumatized by life events.
"It's hope and it's also encouragement, in the sense that, someone believes in them. I think a lot of the people, they are so surprised that they're getting a gift from a total stranger and I know we've had a lot of kids with cancer receive our blankets. The moms and dads are just amazed, and they say, this is a gift from a total stranger made with love."
Kostash recalls a story where the mom of a family was lost in a house fire in southeastern Manitoba several years ago. She says the father was then a single parent with six children. Kostash adds she remembers going to the hotel where they were staying and delivering blankets and teddy bears to the children.
Kostash says the ladies of Heartland Quilters are dedicated quilters with a lot of talent adding it's an honour to be one of the organizations gifted with the quilts to brighten a child's day.