Quilting for a cause

Showing off a quilt that will be delivered to a veteran are Miracle Quilters (from the left) Maggie Miehls, Margaret Gout, Carole Carroll, Barb Kenyon, Myrna Banderstar and Victoria Christiansen. Photo by D. Rush

Miracle Quilts gives comfort to veterans, children

By Don Rush

Earlier this month the Miracle Quilts-Quilts for Our Wounded Troops group started its 14th year of offering comfort to those in need.

Prior to COVID, we have delivered over 9,000 quilts to veterans or their families,” Miracle Quilts founder Carole Carroll of Addison Township said. “The funny thing is we have no big foundations funding our group. Regular people just give.”

The program was created to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. Army PFC Joseph Miracle. Miracle was a Brandon Township resident who died on July 5, 2007 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. He died of wounds sustained from enemy small-arms fire and indirect fire in the Watapur Valley of Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

I came up with the idea that I would like to do a quilting group and that we would make quilts for the wounded troops,” Carroll said. “I started it after I attended a few of the Desert Angel packing parties. After getting involved with the ‘Miracle’ boxes, I wanted to expand on saying thank you to veterans who are hospitalized or suffering from an illness.”

The group meets monthly from September through June. They meet the second Saturday of the month at Independence Village (701 Market St, in Oxford) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the third Thursday of the month at UAW-Local 5960 (180 Silver Bell Rd., in Orion Township) from 9:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Carroll said different quilting groups from the state make quilts for her to deliver personally.

I currently have 270 quilts packed into my SUV to deliver to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “There’s no room for my clothes. I just stuff them under my seat.”

She said since COVID hospitals have only recently started accepting donated quilts. She is also readying some quilts to be shipped to military hospitals in Landstuhl and Stuttgart, Germany. In addition to the patriotic quilts for veterans they sew year round, they od Halloween quilt kits for the pediatric departments at Walter Reed National Military Hospital and Fort Belvoir, outside of Washington D.C.

To get the word out about Miracle Quilts, throughout the year Carroll sets up booths at various quilting, craft and car shows. Through these shows she is frequently invited to speak at different veteran groups where she gets information about veterans in need.

One of the challenges recently has been the material cost to make a quilt. “The cost has really gone up over the last few years. To construct a quilt these days costs between $150 to $200.”

During winter months is when most of the quilts are sewed.

We will have between 25 to 30 quilters here,” she said, adding she invites new quilters to join.

The numbers are a really hard one. Since COVID, our in house numbers are down. Some people come and check out kits to take home and work on. Other women just stay at home and then call me and turn their finished quilts in. One lady last month called me and she made 66 quilts,” Carroll said. “We have a policy of no required meetings, no dues and no required time commitments for volunteer hours. Come for an hour or come for the day. I truly believe this is why we are so successful. We do not pressure people to participate.”

For those who do, she asks quilters to bring their own sewing machines, extension cords and “basic” sewing supplies. You may bring a snack/sandwich to eat. Coffee will be provided, “For 14 years Independence Village has been truly wonderful to us,” Carroll said.

If anyone has questions about quilting, or has a veteran in need contact Carroll by calling 248-321-8669.

 

 

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