Stitches join friends together for Home Fund

By Jeannie McMacken

for Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM— Every Wednesday throughout the year more than 100 quilters from the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club make an odyssey to the Masonic Lodge in Sequim, packing lunch, their sewing machines, fabrics, threads, batting, rotary cutters and rulers, for a day of designing, stitching and camaraderie.

After club business is concluded, the women empty their totes, spread out their gear on long tables and get to work, tackling a personal project or contributing their talents to a collaborative effort. They are a very generous organization whose primary mission is to give back to the community.

There are over 220 members in the club, and over half are actively involved. They live from Chimacum all the way to west of Joyce on the North Olympic Peninsula.

This year, the Secret Sewers were in charge of the group’s annual holiday party. The group constructed a quilt for a members’ raffle that was part of the celebration, with proceeds going to a community organization.

Members Eleanor Geiger and Ann Skillman of Sequim and Merrie Jo Schroeder and Julie Malone of Port Angeles are the Secret Sewers, now no longer so secret. They chose the Peninsula Home Fund as the recipient of the funds.

“We are essentially new to the Home Fund, this is our first year,” Malone said.

Schroeder invited a staff member from Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) to explain to the membership how the fund works.

“I told the group that by giving to the Home Fund you’re helping your neighbors, and you don’t necessarily know that they are in need. There is more of a need in this community than you might think,” said Laura Calabria, OlyCAP client services specialist.

Said Schroeder: “I designed the large lap quilt/wall hanging for the raffle from a pattern depicting wrapped Christmas gifts. I chose the package theme in the spirit of giving.

“It’s made from fabric donated by two members. I constructed it and did some of the quilting. Peggy St. George did some of the quilting and Julie sewed on the binding. Measuring 42-inches-by-59-inches, it’s colorful and festive, and we have lots of interest in it.”

Geiger was excited about reporting the results of the members’ quilt raffle.

“On Wednesday, Dec.13, 110 ladies came to our holiday potluck. We did really well. The quilt raised $300. Members also made monetary donations.

“At the end of the day, the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club will present $2,625 to the Home Fund. We are thrilled with their generosity.”

The group also raised money for foster children and the local food bank.

“We think the resulting donations were due to the presentation and raising awareness of the Home Fund through the articles in the PDN,” Geiger said.

Said Malone: “These stories — that’s why I want to support the Fund. Everyone reads the PDN.”

Schroeder said that most of the clubs members are well established and enjoying retirement.

“We’re pretty fortunate to do what we want to do. I’m grateful for being where I’m at and for being able to share my love of quilting with those who can benefit from it.

“I’m always inspired by the stories in the Peninsula Daily News and I’m inspired by the slogan … a hand up, not a hand out.”

Geiger said that when she moved to area a decade ago, “one of the things that I especially liked was that all the money raised for the Peninsula Home Fund stays in our communities.

“The Home Fund is all-year ’round, not just a one-time thing. Something that’s spread out all year and can bring relief to so many who need some help.”

The group exists to help others help themselves.

Over the organization’s 31 years, Sunbonnet Sue quilters have been stitching fundraising quilts for organizations. The Community Quilts committee, headed by Cindy Smith and Caral Prael, coordinates efforts, makes kits and designs easy patterns that become bed quilts for Head Start and Hospice, and Comfort Quilts for the hospital. They also make quilts for every bed in Habitat for Humanity houses.

“The Community Quilts group makes Joy Quilts, too,” Schroeder said. “They are small 16-inch quilts, wrapped around a stuffed animal. We give them to all the first responders. Firemen have them; policemen have them … sheriffs, social workers, and the district attorney’s office. They get distributed to a lot of places.

“If there’s an accident, a fire or a domestic situation, the responders have something to comfort a child.”

This month, the membership is finishing 200 creatively sewn and embellished Christmas stockings. Each will be overstuffed with gifts and distributed to the North Olympic Foster Parent Association.

“We have a quilt show in July every year during the Lavender Fest weekend at the middle school,” Geiger said. “Lots of people attend. Over 200 quilts on exhibit are for sale. In the country store we sell handmade things.

“Our raffle quilt sells $5,000 worth of tickets. All the money raised covers the show and our operating costs — and money to buy more fabric.”

Said Malone: “Any item you make — no one understands how much time goes into it. We don’t do it because we make money. We do it because we are passionate about quilting.”

Schroeder added: “We love fabric and the social aspect of getting together, talking about this. We’ve done a lot of projects together and we always have a really good time.”

Where does all this fabric come from?

“We have a large storage unit where we store all our fabrics and batting because we all have so much of it,” Geiger confessed.

“We all try to support our local, independent quilt shops: Karen’s, Sleepy Valley Quilts, Quilted Strait and Creative Union. They are very supportive of our club and give us gift certificates to use as door prizes.”

Geiger said the group also gets a lot of donations.

“Sometimes we think we’re in the estate sale business,” she said. “A husband will call and tell us his wife died and she has all this fabric and thread and he doesn’t know what to do with it. So we go there and clean out the place … that’s were we get a lot of material.”

The quilters sort the donations. What they can’t use they pass along to other organizations, like the Purdy Women’s Correctional Facility in Gig Harbor, which has a volunteer charitable quilting program.

Sunbonnet Sue welcomes quilters — newcomers or those who have been in the area for awhile.

“We’re a friendly group with a wide variety of abilities,” Schroeder said.

”We work with traditional and contemporary styles, pieced and appliquéd designs, large and small sizes. We teach, have classes with nationally known teachers. And we have a great website: www.sunbonnetsuequiltclub.org.”

Said Geiger: “I’m happy we can do this for charity, and we all like each other.

“We are sisters at heart.”

Peninsula’s safety net

The Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when they suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.

From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and La Push, money from the fund is used for hot meals for seniors; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

• Assistance usually averages less than $100. The average amount of help this year has been $62 per person.

The maximum allowance per year is $350 per household.

• All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.

Home Fund case managers often work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”

• No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.

Every penny goes to OlyCAP.

The money goes to help the most vulnerable members of our community, from infants to families to seniors.

Please note: Because of heavy community demands, the loss of grants because of the economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning in 2012 was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)

• All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

Your personal information is kept confidential.

PDN and OlyCAP do not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.

Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has relied on the support of Jefferson and Clallam residents.

Using the $264,486 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2016, OlyCAP had helped 3,400 people from Jan. 1 to Nov. 9.

The remaining funding of $26,402 will continue to help your friends and neighbors on the Peninsula through the middle of January — when 2017 donations will begin to offer a lifeline in 2018.

How to apply for a Home Fund grant

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:

• OlyCAP’s Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726. For Port Angeles- and Sequim-area residents.

• Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.

• The Forks office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193. For West End ­residents.

Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.

OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: [email protected]

Contributions so far

A number of generous individuals and organizations have been donating money to the Peninsula Home Fund since the first of the year.

While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.

To donate online by credit card, click on https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/homefund.

Here is a list of donors whose Home Fund contributions were processed during the week of Dec. 14-20:

Name and amountKathy Barnes, Sequim, $100. In honor of Majella Baazeal.

Vicki Adams, Port Townsend, $100.

Dr. John and Jeanne Skow, Port Angeles, $1,000.

Dennis and Diane Isaac, Sequim, $30.

Fred and Marilyn McElroy, Sequim, $100.

John and Ellen Kassen, Port Angeles, $30.

Charles Rondeau, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of my dad, Dale Woodside.

John and Carol Sinton, Port Angeles, $500.

The Smith O’Hara Parker Family, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Daniel Holmquist.

Theresa Webster, Sequim, $100.

Marie C. Cauvel, Port Angeles, $200. In memory of Orvel S. Cauvel.

Ella Sandvig, Port Townsend, $50.

DeDe Juliussen, Sequim, $100.

Dave and Francie Louden, Port Angeles, $200. In honor of our recently retired mail person on Mount Pleasant Road, Maureen. We wish you a very happy retirement! And in honor of Napo’e, our wonderful substitute mail person on Mount Pleasant Road. Welcome!

Mount Pleasant Homemaker’s Club, Port Angeles, $150. In memory of Carol.

Paul Howard, Port Angeles. $100.

Robin Ornelas, Port Townsend, $200. In memory of Gabe Ornelas.

Name onlyBrad and Nancy Anseth, Sequim.

Judy Mann, Sequim.

Jerry Nichols, Port Angeles.

Catherine Woodahl, Sequim.

Pat Flood and Lori Kramer, Port Angeles.

Jean Tyson, Port Angeles. In honor of my brother, Gary.

Barbara Hughes, Sequim.

Chick and Carol Carmichael, Port Angeles.

Susan B. Skubinna, Sequim. In honor of the Barker Family.

Patricia Touchie, Sequim. In honor of Robin Bookter.

Robert Hutchison, Sequim.

Bob and Carol Gudgel, Port Angeles. In honor of Wilma Campbell.

Sharon Hollatz, Port Angeles.

Jeanne and David Oldenkamp, Port Angeles.

Bob and Jackie Partridge, Port Angeles. In loving memory of family and friends before us.

Jerry and Irene Cerra, Sequim.

Pat Nix, Sequim.

Don Wilson, Port Townsend.

Marge and Bill Pieratt, Port Angeles.

Joseph and Claudia Girard, Port Angeles.

Oscar and Marcia Heydorn, Sequim. In memory of Aunt Mae and Uncle Bud.

Cheryl L. Winney, Port Angeles.

Judith Carlson, Port Angeles.

Bertha Darlene Cooper, Sequim.

K M Jellicoe Pressley, Port Angeles. In honor of Florence Swanson from Bob and Kathi.

Steve and Lucy Nordwell, Port Angeles.

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Klein, Sequim.

Bob and Berit Cole, Sequim.

Mad Maggi Boutique & Salon/Sue Deshazer, Sequim.

Andi and Don Taylor, Sequim.

Patricia M. Randall, Port Angeles. In memory of Richard F. Randall.

Kate Larson, Port Angeles. In memory of Bob and Bokie.

Retired Public Employees of Washington, Chapter 22, Jefferson County, Port Townsend.

Bob and Verna Edwards, Port Angeles.

Gloria Ricketts, Port Hadlock.

Mr. and Mrs. John Norvell, Sequim.

Jean and E. C. Gockerell, Sequim. In memory of Carl Gockerell.

Donna and Eric Miner, Sequim. In memory of Marie Botnen.

James and Celia Read, Port Angeles.

Mary Weidner, Port Townsend.

Hazel Blake, Sequim. In memory of Charles S. Blake.

Jeannine Johnson, Port Angeles.

Larry and Pat Ledbetter, Port Angeles. In memory of family and friends.

Merry K. Van Deusen, Port Angeles. In memory of Marilyn Jacobson.

Dorothea Morgan, Port Angeles.

Dorothy Hutt Wilson, Sequim.

William and Margaret Klover, Port Angeles.

Olympic Peninsula Base U.S. Submarine Vets, Chimacum.

Lynn Taylor, Port Townsend. In honor of Michael Taylor.

Jacqueline A. Hanway, Sequim. In honor of Paul.

Carol Baker, Port Townsend.

Mark and Patricia Lewis, Sequim.

Peter and Darlene Granlund, Port Angeles.

Susan and Wayne Roberts, Port Angeles.

Penny Brewer, Sequim. In loving memory of my husband, David Brewer, and grandson, Trent Basden.

Members of the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club, Sequim.

Christine Barton, Sequim.

Sylvia Durrwachter, Port Angeles. In memory of Dianne Durrwachter.

Shirley Lehman, Sequim. In memory of my forever love for Chuck Lehman and Randy Lehman.

Steve and Linda Bailey, Carlsborg.

Richard and Suellen Knight, Port Townsend. In honor of John Ferris and Billie Knight.

Barry and Ellen Lerich, Nordland.

Chris Spirz, Port Angeles.

Jim and Sally Halvorsen, Port Angeles.

Douglas and Sherri Smith, Sequim.

Barbara Priest, Brinnon.

Leslie Campbell, Port Angeles.

Stephen D. Murphy, Port Townsend.

Larry and Sandy Davidson, Sequim. In honor of the lovely women of Wednesday Bridge.

Mary R. Thayne, Sequim.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Thompson, Port Angeles.

Ingrid Lehrer, Sequim.

Emery and Lila Winters, Port Angeles. In memory and in honor of our parents.

Pat Flood/Olympic Acupuncture, Port Angeles. In memory of Cynthia Dawson, Nancy Taylor, Betty Hoch and Phyllis Howatt.

Norm and Anita Moran, Port Ludlow.

Clare and Don Hatler, Sequim. In memory of Nancy Wiersma.

The Dinner Club, Port Angeles. In honor of friendships.

Rick and Margaret Yates, Port Angeles.

Irma Stennes, Port Angeles. In memory of my daughter, Denise Fletcher, and my son, David.

Darlene Jones, Port Angeles. In honor of Jimmie, Jeremy, Howard and Catherine Jones, and Kenny and Clara Owen.

Joanne Eagan, Port Angeles. In memory of Ruth Eagan.

Walter Classman, Sequim.

Sandra Smith-Poling and Mitchell Poling, Port Townsend.

Ed Curington, Sequim.

Barbara Baker, Sequim. In memory of Cy.

Jay and Alicia Crawford, Sequim.

Larry and Jackie Aase, Port Townsend.

Michaelle Barnard, Port Angeles.

Marjorie Whitmore, Sequim. In memory of and in honor of Dart Whitmore.

M.F. Soares, Sequim. In honor of Hana Cannon and Abi Donnelly.

Ray and Sandy Thomas, Carlsborg.

David and Karen Christopher, Sequim.

Klaus and Jan Hintermayr, Gardiner.

Harry and Pam Grandstrom, Sequim.

Bonnee Zander, Tacoma. In honor of Rebecca Zander.

Ricardo Fleischfresser, Port Angeles.

Robert T. Mullen, no city named.

AnonymousSequim, $40.

Port Angeles, $1,500.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $170.

Port Angeles, $250. In memory of Ann.

Sequim, $500. In loving memory of Alex.

Port Angeles, $50.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Sequim, $60.

Port Townsend, $200.

Port Ludlow, $200.

Sequim, $25.

Port Angeles, $25.

Port Angeles, $125. In memory of our parents.

Port Angeles, $10,000. In honor of our grandchildren: Katherine Hope, Scott Mowry, Andrew Michael, Stuart James, Margaret Mowry, Warren James, Samuel Ryan, James David and Rachel Velia.

Sequim, $200.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $200.

Sequim, $500. In memory of our son, Mark.

Sequim, $1,000.

Port Townsend, $300.

Port Angeles, $100. In honor of the great folks at Wilder Toyota Service. In honor of my best buddies at The Blackbird Coffeehouse.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $100.

Port Angeles, $50.

Sequim, $50. In memory of Robert Magnuson.

Port Angeles, $200.

Port Townsend, $100.

Sequim, $35.

Port Angeles, $25.

Port Townsend, $100. In honor of Joanne Tyler.

Sequim, $125. In honor of Greg and Lynn Thomas.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $250.

Sequim, $100.

No city named, $250.

Sequim, $50. In honor of Dennis Murphy.

Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $100.

No city named, $20.

Sequim, $1,050.

Sequim, $200.

Sequim, $40.

Sequim, $25.

Sequim, $200.

Sequim, $50.

Port Townsend, $100.

Port Angeles, $50.

Carlsborg, $200. In honor of 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Port Angeles, $50.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $50.

Port Angeles, $200.

Port Angeles, $600.

Sequim, $2,000.

Port Angeles, $70. In memory of Jim and Irene Rexroat.

Sequim, $100.

Port Ludlow, $50.

Port Angeles, $210.

Port Angeles, $500.

Sequim, $100.

Port Angeles, $150.

Sequim, $50.

Chimacum, $100.

Sequim, $25. In honor of Charles O. Jack.

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