Angel Quilters donate hundreds of quilts for children
By Kathy Feist
On Sept. 28, Lillie Minks delivered 20 child-sized quilts of various colors and themes to St. Luke’s Hospital Crittendon Children’s Center, a psychiatric and behavioral treatment facility located at 10918 Elm Ave in south Kansas City. It was her second delivery to the hospital, making a total of 50 in the past few months.
Minks belongs to Comforting Angel Quilters, a volunteer organization out of Butler, Mo., that makes handcrafted quilts for children in need of “physical, mental, spiritual and emotional comfort” according to their mission statement. So far they have donated 300 quilts this year to such organizations as Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, the Children’s Center in Butler, and Hope House in Harrisonville. By the end of the year, they plan to have donated 500.
Comforting Angel Quilters was founded four years ago by Joyce Fitzpatrick who lives in Butler, located 50 miles south of Martin City. As the owner of a thrift shop there, she started the quilting club to keep up with the amount of fabric that was being donated. The group grew from just three quilters in a small room inside the thrift shop to 30 quilters who operate out of two classrooms at their latest location in Butler’s Old High School. “And we are now outgrowing that,” says Fitzpatrick.
The women meet on Monday mornings twice a month. Some work from home creating the tops of the quilts. Many attend the meetings to tack together the three layers of the quilt: the tops, the batting, and the backs. Another group of sewers serge the layers together.
On one recent visit, Fitzpatrick and another volunteer, Bobbie Harkarder, both expert sewers, were on sewing machines. In a separate room, Minks, Sharon Fink, Alvina Harrison-Wells and Twyla Jones sat around a long table tacking quilts and tying snippets of yarn.
The Angel Quilters are always looking for volunteers. “Right now we are looking for more sewers who can make the tops,” says Fitzpatrick.
Volunteers come from every direction. Fitzpatrick’s 91-year-old aunt who creates 100 quilt tops a year lives in Springfield. Minks, a south Kansas City native, lives in Drexel, 30 minutes from Butler. Others gather from surrounding communities such as Rich Hill, Mo., or Prescott, Kan.
“I love coming here,” says Jones. “Each time I come here there is something new going on.”
For some the work feeds a need.
“It is my addiction,” says Harkarder. “I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I quilt!”
“For me, sewing for kids is really rewarding,” she says. “We have fun here. We have a lot of good ladies.”
Comforting Angel Quilters is always in need of supplies or cash to purchase supplies. (“A roll of batting is $58,” says Fitzpatrick.) If you would like to help, you can donate at Angels of Comfort Quilters Facebook Page or send contributions to Angels of Comfort Quilters, 703 S. High St., Butler, MO 64730. For more information, call 660-200-5208.