Stitching fabric of love: Church makes quilts for refugees
Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Carson City, Carson Valley, Dayton, and South Lake Tahoe areas handcrafted dozens of quilts and pillowcases to help refugees arriving in the Northern Nevada area beginning in the next few weeks and through the next several years.
These items were displayed and at an informal showcase event earlier this month. The quilts are being donated to the Northern Nevada International Center, which is coordinating the program to welcome the refugees.
Providing service to others is central to the Church’s teachings of following the example of Jesus Christ.
“Giving quilts to others is a time-honored tradition. We give them as gifts at births, weddings, and other special occasions,” said Curtis Palmer, a member of the Carson City Nevada Stake which is a geographical area similar to a Catholic diocese. “Quilt giving conveys a feeling of love, friendship, warmth, and hope for the future. These quilts may initially be the only work of art in the rooms of refugees. While the handmade quilts are a work of beauty, they are also usable and practical.”
In Palmer’s remarks, he relayed a historical account of the early history of the Church. During the winter of 1838-1839, more than 5,000 members were evicted from their homes and cities in Missouri and fled to Quincy, Ill., for safety. The 1,500 citizens of Quincy received and assisted the Latter-day Saint refugees in their time of great need during that cold winter. They provided the Mormons with shelter, food, clothing, and jobs.
“In a sense, we are paying it forward to now welcome the incoming refugees who have lost their homes in other lands,” said Palmer.
Steve Mulvenon, Executive Board Member of the Reno based Northern Nevada International Center was on hand to accept the handmade quilts and pillowcases. Mulvenon expressed gratitude on behalf of the Northern Nevada International Center.
“You have no idea how grateful we are,” said Mulvenon. “These gifts and expressions of welcome will be cherished by the families who receive them and will help their very small budgets go further as they establish themselves.”
Mulvenon spoke of the refugee camps and the plight of these people who have waited, in some cases years or even a whole generation, to seek a better life.
“This is the chance of a lifetime to come to a new country and start a new life,” said Mulvenon.
The first four families of refugees will arrive in the Reno area sometime over the next few weeks to three months. The Northern Nevada International Center will help the refugees find suitable housing, learn about the community, enroll their children in school, and find employment opportunities.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set up a website detailing a list of household items needed by the refugees. Community members who wish to provide assistance can find this list at JustServe.org by searching the site for service opportunities in the Reno area under the search word “Refugee” and find the listing for “Donate household items for refugee family.” The second site is http://www.iWasAStrangerReno.org. Community members may also partner with other prominent churches in the area who are taking action to help assist the refugees.