Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Quilts for fire victims

I dropped two of Mum's quilts into the Salvation Army at Traralgon tonight - they have so many donations it looks like it will take forever to sort them.

So at the moment, people will have something to wear, and I didn't check the bedding - but if the rest is anything to go by, they will have immediate bedding.

It is later they will need the things that are just that little bit better, and a little bit more meaningful.

So my quilting co-conspirator and I have six of Mum's in hand, being backed/bound. And she is looking through hers.

Should anyone wish to donate to the people of Gippsland (and this is not in any way to detract from places elsewhere, who have also lost people, in many cases more than our 21 people), I know the Gippsland Emmergency Relief Fund. They are practical, and every cent goes to the people, as all administration is carried out by volunteers. I have seen them at work since 1977. My money has gone to them.

Monday, 9 February 2009


Several people who know where I live have contacted me following the mind-numbing bushfires that have been happening around us. We are fine - a bit of soot landed on us, but that is all.

For the past few days we have just watched, prepared for the worst, and felt terrible to be glad that we were the lucky ones.

One news report is HERE. Whole towns have been destroyed.

I am near the Churchill / Traralgon South / Callignee fires, which are not over yet - we are still waiting in dread to hear the names of the nine who have so far died in that area. My brother was on a fire truck there during the worst of it, and saw home after home just burst into flames.

I am trying to work out what I can do. There are families out there who have to start all over again without anything. Imagine losing your entire personal possessions, all the little items that were unique, that meant so much to you. Tomorrow I will go through my storage boxes, and there are a couple of my mother's hand-made quilts there that we will never use.

In the weeks and months that come, people will be setting up homes again, and that is the time to think about what can be done.

The local shires co-ordinate recovery, and I am reasonably sure I will be able to deliver any handmade items anyone would like to send in such a way that they will definitely go to women who have lost everything. Right now they are given disaster money to buy clothes, toiletries etc.

But in a month's time, or three months' time, it may be there will be quilters out there who need, for their own emotional well-being, to start building up their stash again. I think I have found a home for all my mother's fat quarters. Those are the last things they need now, but there will come a time when they are going to be what they need more than anything.

It is times like this when we all feel helpless, and all feel we need to do something. So if you would like to stitch a small gift for another woman out there, one who has lost her entire worldly possessions, and include a note to show that you care, when the shouting and the tumult lessens, I will ensure they get to the local municipal co-ordination centre. I am still working this out as I go, but the neice of a good friend of mine is fairly high in the local government of the shire that has been hit worst - I can probably get items to there with an assurance also that they will go directly to those who need them most.

Again - these are not the sort of things they need this week, or next week - I went into the Ash Wednesday fires area in 1983 with a work team, and hardware stores were just pulling up with truckloads of barrows. That is the kind of help they need now.

But if you are like me, and wondering what you can do - make something. If I can find a way to move some basic craft materials in, I will let you know.

I have a lot of dry leaves to rake up, to make sure if the fires get near here, that my home where my mother is, is as defensible as possible. Then I have a museum with forty buildings to clean with my team, that is full of soot. So I am not sure what I am going to make, but I think what I would need, if it was me, would probably be a nice shoulder bag, with a little heart sewn somewhere on the inside. Practical, but a reminder that someone cares.

If you would like to send anything (and it will get to actual people needing it), my snail-mail address is available from kapana[at]netspace.net.au