Lily Pad receives quilts for suitcases

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Even though they will not go to the population they were intended for, they will still be able to do some good.

A collection of 40 quilts, initially intended to benefit pediatric patients at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, was donated to the Lily Pad Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Center last week.

The quilts were made by "Quilters for Comfort."

"The group made the quilts, and it was decided to give them to the Lily Pad to (give out) as needed," said Karen Kemp, executive director of the Lily Pad.

The quilts will be used for the Lily Pad Suitcase Project, which was inspired by the children the organization assists.

"What we've seen is that kids that leave for state custody come in with nothing," Kemp said. "So, we compile (basic needs items), a Bible, a teddy bear and a warm blanket and put them in a suitcase.

"(The quilts) are something else we can give as an heirloom."

When Kemp learned what was being presented to the Lily Pad that day, she had to struggle to hold back tears.

"When they (the Phoebe volunteers) came in with these quilts, we were blown away," she said.

The formal presentation was made by a group of volunteers from Phoebe. Carole Huff, one of the volunteers, was instrumental in coordinating the effort with Quilters for Comfort.

Even though the quilts would have been a nice addition to the hospital, Huff said she feels good about the decision to give them to the Lily Pad.

"Love and time was put into them," she said. "I go into rooms throughout Phoebe and I see all the children, so I thought (the quilts) would be wonderful, but then we heard about the Suitcase Project.

"I feel very good about this decision (to donate the quilts). These children are taken from their homes, from their parents. They don't have much, now they have the quilts."

Forty hospital bed bags were also made for patients at Phoebe, which have been distributed.

"Quilters for Comfort" is a national quilting and embroidery group. Its members make charity quilts for worthy causes. In so doing, they have an Internet-based quilting system established across the country. Members sew and embroider blocks and mail them to other volunteers who assemble, machine quilt and bind each product.

In just over three years, Quilters for Comfort has donated more than 600 quilts to children, veterans, active military personnel and other groups. Once they find a charity they determine what its needs are, decide on a theme and color scheme, assign duties to volunteers, make the quilts and send them out.