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Quilts = Healing: Quilts of Valor Foundation

Quilting has been a major part of my life. Growing up with a grandmother who loves sewing, I was used to the hustle and bustle of the loud roaring machine - and the plethora of loose threads that got stuck to my clothes when I left her house. The allure of sewing was directly inherited: starting with her mother, then to her, to my mother and aunt, and right down to me. With that in mind, I’ve been to plenty of quilt shows, had hundreds of backaches from being hunched over machines, and sewed many projects. 

There is nothing better than curling up with a homemade quilt and feeling the comfort and love embedded within every stitch. Each block is sewn into a design, then quilted over. All pieces are bound together to form a layer of portable comfort. Sometimes, on those long nights facing the loneliness of deployment, or enduring the coldness of a new house, a quilt can make it better. For me, quilts remind me of my family, even when we are thousands of miles apart. 

Speaking of my family, another large part of my life is the military, with my parents, my grandpas, and even my older brother all serving. The military has been a huge portion of my life. It’s taught me the importance of handling change, but also taught me the importance of celebrating and loving our brave veterans. Quilts of valor are an excellent example of this.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) is an organization that began in 2003. The idea was to spread love and comfort to soldiers on the front lines and to nurses and first responders. Quilts of Valor offers just that through the underrated loving qualities of a handmade quilt. The foundation, according to the founder Catherine Roberts, said it started with a dream - a dream about a young man facing wartime, being so lonely and filled with despair. In the dream, the young soldier receives a quilt, and the feelings of loneliness and pain were soothed. From the dream, Roberts’ foundation and message became “Quilts = Healing.” 

Since this dream in 2003, twenty years later, three hundred and fifty thousand quilts have been awarded to veterans who have faced the unequivocal treachery of war. According to a representation of the Williamsburg/Chesapeake Virginia chapter of QOVF, “each quilt goes through at least five people.” That is five or more sets of hands, feeding love into each quilt. Patching, sewing, and quilting them together - hours of work dedicated to people who spent thousands of hours dedicated to fighting for us and our freedom. 

With all they’ve done so far, they are nowhere close to being done. The Quilts of Valor Foundation has spread love for twenty years and continues to make a huge difference for soldiers stationed around the world. As youth, we see our families' bravery and the effort they put into their careers. We may not get to see the people they help, but we sure can help people just like them. There are many ways you as a youth can support Quilts of Valor. Through donations, or even quilting one yourself with a group of your friends, has more information on how YOU can support their cause.

A quote from their brochure spoke out to me, a direct quote from a volunteer. “Our QOVs touch the recipients much deeper than we will probably ever know. And if just one quilt that I make touches a Veteran such that it gives him or her the motivation to keep going, it’s worth the effort.” Quilts take hours, if not days to produce; however, QOVF proves that it’s worth every second of work. According to a representative of the Williamsburg/Chesapeake Virginia Chapter, the ceremonies in which the veterans are awarded their Quilts of Valor are truly heartwarming. 

Getting to write a piece on such an incredible foundation has been such an honor because I was able to meet representatives of this uplifting community. Upon hearing their mission, I knew that I had to spread the word to the people who read from BLOOM. Make sure to check out their website to read more on their mission. Spreading love one quilt at a time.


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