Written by Eileen:
Last night Helen and I had the distinct honor of presenting twenty two quilts to the residents of HABcore, Inc, in Red Bank. For those of you unfamiliar with HABcore, their mission statement says it all “Stability, Dignity and Hope for the Homeless”. It was founded after the death of a homeless man on the streets of Red Bank and the work they do is phenomenal. The residence we went to is one of two Class C Boarding Homes, run by HABcore, where residents live in a family like atmosphere with communal dining and living space. Helen worked closely with the Manager of this facility to coordinate our meeting. It was decided beforehand that we should chose and label a quilt with each resident’s name before our meeting, so we met up first and went through all of the quilts. Since there are only seven females residing there, Helen and I chose the more “feminine” quilts and assigned names to them. We assigned the men’s names to the gender neutral quilts and went on our way. When we arrived we were greeted and welcomed by several residents. Although the staff member on duty knew we were coming, the residents did not. About half of them were enjoying television or chatting in the living area, the others had already retired to their rooms. We tried to explain to them who we were and a little about our guild, but most of these residents are mentally and or intellectually challenged. It didn’t matter because what happened next was one of the most humbling, gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. As we called out names and people came to collect their gift, the excitement and gratitude that filled the room was palpable. Residents were happy to run upstairs and get others so they too could come and receive their gift. It became immediately clear that fabric choice, gender neutral or not, made absolutely no difference. I recalled when Diane gave me a patriotic quilt as a donation and she was hedging because she thought that the red in the fabric had ran and it was now slightly pink in appearance. I can assure you Diane that your quilt is this gentleman’s most prized possession!! And this was true of each and every resident. They hugged and cuddled their quilts just like your friends and family do when you present them with such a gift. Another gentleman received a quilt, that I believe was made by Sherre, and you should know that it was as if you surveyed him about everything he would love in a quilt that was custom designed for him, right down to the quilting which he remarked reminded him of a quilt that his mom once had. This was the highlight of the night for me personally as I observed him tracing the quilting swirls with his finger!!
I am profoundly proud of what we, The Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild, did here. WE have touched the lives of at least twenty two people in a way that goes beyond any expectation I had. I could not have done this without you, my most generous friends. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Quilting and charity have, to me, always gone hand in hand and it is my hope that we can continue in this charitable way. Thank you so very much, all of you, and a special thanks to Helen for organizing the distribution last night.