One Cambridge group has been providing comfort to the community by keeping their hands busy.
The Busy Hands Quilters are a group of mostly seniors who sew 200 quilts a year, donating them to people in need.
The groups current president, Pauline Isbester, joined more than 20 years ago after moving to town, wanting to make friends with a common interest and get involved in the community.
She settled on The Busy Hand’s Quilters because she loved to sew and believed in their cause: to use sewing as a way to give back to the community.
When she joined the group, there were just 17 people. Now, there are 50 members, which she says is their cap.
“We always have a waiting list. Our facility won’t accommodate a whole lot, so we’re trying to keep it around 50.”
And with such a good cause and sense of community, she says people tend to stick around after they join.
Their biggest donation is typically to the Cambridge Memorial Hospital; they recently delivered over 90 quilts a few weeks ago. In January, they donated baby quilts, memory quilts, hats and knitted bears.
Another organization they regularly donate to is the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region’s (WCSWR) Haven House, a suicide prevention group.
“Blankets often provide so much warmth and comfort, which these women and children are lacking when they come to shelter,” said Carly Holmstead of WCSWR. “The quilts show the women and children that someone in the community cares for them and provides them something as simple as warmth and comfort.”
They give the quilts to the women and children who come into the shelter and “need a bit of cozy love.” They also give them to those with young children but were not able to grab blankets as they were leaving their abusive situation.
“It feels good when you see all these quilts going to (people) who really need them,” said Isbester, who has been sewing since she was 12, and quilting for the last 30 years.
While she wouldn’t call herself a pro, she says she’s at least experienced.
“If there’s a mistake to be made, I’ve already made it.”
She was drawn to sewing because she always feels like she’s accomplishing something.
“It’s also mental for me. It’s just my time.”
Even if the women involved don’t want to sew anymore but still want to participate, they are able to knit things like bears and hats for premature babies.
The next batch of quilts will be going to Safe Haven House-Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, a suicide prevention group.