“Giving is so often thought of in terms of the things we give, but our greatest giving is of our time, and kindness, and even comfort for those who need it. We look on these gifts as unimportant–until we need them.” Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Valier’s Kathy Dean thinks of her fellow Triangle Squares Quilt Guild members when she reads this quote. “I think it describes how we feel when we make a quilt to give to someone needy. Making the quilt is a way of giving of our time as well as the warmth the quilt will give the recipient,” said Dean.

The members of the Triangle Squares Quilt Guild decided this year instead of hosting their usual Christmas gift exchange they would instead play Santa to the young children and mothers of the Florence Crittenton Home in Helena. So on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at their regular potluck gathering in Shelby, they all brought numerous gifts–mostly handmade–to make Christmas a little merrier for the young mothers and their children at the home.

“The response was amazing,” recalled Dean. “But the time we were finished unloading the gifts we had filled a large table and eight chairs around it and they were all stacked as high as they would hold,” boasted Dean. “One of our ladies gave probably 20 or more hand-pieced and quilted baby quilts,” she added.

Thrivent Lutheran assisted the guild members with the purchase of fabric and supplies for their gift making, which included 50 homemade quilts, 21 handcrafted double-flannel receiving blankets, a hand-knitted afghan and 30 small homemade stuffed animals.

But those weren’t the only gifts donated by the quilters. They also attended the pre-Christmas meeting bearing gifts of baby outfits, assorted socks, books, bibs, gift cards, diapers, wipes, toys and toiletries for both the moms and their babies.

This year’s twist on the guild’s annual gift exchange was presented by Dean and VanTongeren to guild members, who loved it.

“We thought none of us need the usual candle or Christmas ornament that comes at our usual $10 gift exchange and we wanted to use the money to benefit some charity,” explained Dean. “As a group, we have donated to the Crittenton in the past. It is also one of Linda’s and my own favorite charities.”

According to Linda VanTongeren, Thrivent donated a $250 credit card to the guild, which was used to purchase material and other supplies to make the gifts. “My Thrivent agent Don Lee told me Thrivent offers credit cards for charitable organizations now which can be applied for twice a year in the amount of $250. I applied, since I am a Thrivent member, on behalf of the guild and we received a $250 credit card,” said Tongeren.

“My father was born in 194 and his brother in 1916 and both were born at the Florence Crittenton Home in Fargo, North Dakota, so that is the reason I give to the home,” explained Tongeren. “Helena is the only one in Montana and there are so few of them anymore,” she added.

“Kathy and I were so excited about the gifts that came in for this cause we were both crying,” said Tongeren.

According to information on its web site, the Florence Crittenton Home has worked with young families for over 112 years in Helena. Once simply a “home for unwed mothers” who were generally sent away in secrecy and shame to have their babies and “give them up” for adoption, Florence Crittenton has adapted and changed over the years into a licensed therapeutic maternity home serving at-risk teen parents as well as their at-risk babies.

Florence Crittenton’s residential program provides the highest level of therapeutic care for pregnant and parenting young women aged 12 – 21. At the heart of our program is the belief that while in treatment mom and baby remain together so that a strong bond and attachment can be formed and a foundation of positive parenting can be built.

Florence Crittenton also has a Community Outreach Center, which serves young families of all ages. The services offered by the center range from parenting classes, assessments and child and family therapy.

Dean was overwhelmed with the generosity of her fellow quilters last month.

“If you think about 50 quilts, valued at $50-$100 each, that alone is quite a sizable donation from our group, not to mention all of the rest of the gifts. I was stunned at the outpouring of generosity that will benefit these most innocent new lives and their young mothers,” shared Dean.


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