Western Manitoulin group improves life for those facing disasters

The West End women pose with their quilt that will go overseas to aid a disaster victim.

MELDRUM BAY – Women from St. Andrews United Church in Meldrum Bay and the community of Silver Water are helping those in other parts of the world who are facing disasters by making 25 quilts and providing hygiene kits and school kits. The group sends all of these items to the Mennonite Central Committee in southern Ontario.

“So far we have made and tied 25 quilts, and made and filled 460 hygiene kits and 267 school kits (filled with pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpener, notebooks, rulers and colouring pencils),” said Peggy Morrison. 

“We meet on Tuesdays,” said Ms. Morrison, who pointed out the group follows COVID-19 protocols, with never more than eight gathering at each session running from 9 am to noon. “We are following all COVID-19 protocols; everyone wears masks, social distancing and hand sanitizers are provided.”

“We have had several people in the community out to help and we always know before each session who is participating,” said Ms. Morrison. “If we ever have more than eight people come out either I or Jan (Joyce) would go home.” 

Ms. Morrison noted that 200 kit bags were made in 2019 and filled with hygiene products. “We felt we could do more, therefore we started to make quilts,” she said explaining, “the preferred quilt online is 60×80 so we designed a quilt using six-inch squares alternating plain and print blocks of cotton or cotton/polyester material.”

Along with the quilts and hygiene kits, the school kits were a new project this year and the group is also starting to make infant care kits. 

“Material has been donated or purchased as the need arises, from Manitoulin Island to southern Ontario and beyond,” said Ms. Morrison. “People have been very generous,” she added, noting for example, “USW Local 6500 in Sudbury gave us a generous monetary donation as did the United Church in Lively. The United Church in Lively also gave us a donation of materials collected from their parishioners.” 

“Please inform people that for anyone wanting to make a monetary donation, it can be funneled through the St. Andrews United Church in Meldrum Bay,” said Ms. Morrison.