Yesterday afternoon Alex’s class hosted an open house to display the ten (!) quilts they made for the local homeless shelter. My little guy could not be more proud of the work they did for perfect strangers who are in need. It was a punch-and-cookies sort of a soiree, where parents and students came together to celebrate the spirits of service and generosity.
This all started in mid-January. Alex’s teacher (who is spectacular!) heard about a service-oriented grant that was being offered to teachers and she thought it might be fun to participate. They were discussing the community in Social Studies, and some of the kids were shocked that people were living outside during the harsh winter, so she asked them if they thought they could make some blankets for a few families, to help them stay warmer. The kids were all on board, and so she applied for $250, hoping that amount would cover a cheap sewing machine, some tools for cutting fabric and a very inexpensive digital camera to record the project and assist in creating a quilt scrapbook. Afraid to ask for more money, she thought the best way to get fabric would be to ask the class members to donate a yard per child.
When Alex’s teacher attended the grant meeting, she was one of three teachers who showed up. Three. She was thrilled to know her modest request would be met, but sad that more teachers didn’t take advantage. (Of the total $20,000 funds available, only $2,000 was requested.)
I assumed she’d just make the quilts as easily as possible, with the yards of fabric being sewn together and then tied, but she cut down the fabric into 5″ squares and sewed those together patchwork-style, and even went to the extra work of doing a Prairie-point finish around the edges. Originally, the plan was to have five quilts, but the kids donated so much material, she had enough to double that.
Each student got a chance to cut some squares, to sew on the machine (being carefully monitored by a parent volunteer), to iron the seams flat, and the opportunity to play “photographer” and capture the work in progress. They all made a quilt page for the scrapbook. After the quilts were sewn together, each child got the opportunity to tie them.
Those kids were fiercely proud of their quilts, and Mrs. McCann was fiercely proud of her kids. On Friday, all ten (!) quilts will be donated to “The Road Home” homeless shelter. All is well in third grade.