Ladies in Beiseker, Alberta assisted by ladies in neighbouring communities are making a commitment of their time to see that other people have the comfort that comes from owning an afghan.
Since April 2000 a group of ladies in Beiseker (population of 828) has met to join squares together to make afghans. In that time approximately 50,000 squares have been made into 1,129 large (48×64 inches) and many small (36×48 inches) afghans. Throughout the years of its existence from six to 13 ladies have belonged to this group.
Donations of squares come from many sources. Ladies from the Wheatland Lodge in Strathmore, Caring Grannies in Wimborne and individuals from the towns of Three Hills, Hanna, Delburne, Airdrie and Calgary and as far away as Kamloops, B. C., crochet or knit eight-inch squares so that the Beiseker group has a constant supply which they combine into colourful patterns.
The original idea came from a national group “Blankets for Canada Society.” The Beiseker group functions as an affiliate of the larger organization with a representative picking up the completed afghans. It has officers: president Rose Kuechle, secretary Marlene Henuset and treasurer Vera Schmaltz. Anyone interested is welcome to gather at the seniors’ centre on Mondays (except July and August), bring a lunch, stitch and chat.
The members keep a scrapbook of photographs, articles and letters which shows the group’s work over the years. Glancing through it, the significance of their contribution is obvious. A thank-you letter from the Salvation Army Centre of Hope Community Resource Room, expresses the gratitude of that organization. “Thank you for the blankets that you have generously donated! Our clients are benefiting from the beautiful gifts of warmth that you and the ladies have made. It is through continued community involvement that we are able to continue our services to those who are at risk of becoming homeless and those who are homeless. The blankets have provided many a smile and a gracious thank you from those who receive them. I wish to pass on that smile and thank you to you and the ladies who take the time and care to pass on your love to others.”
Another letter from an individual who received an afghan tells how she relates the colours of the squares to important steps of healing in a life of abuse. The afghan tells her she is not alone, someone out there cares.
Stitch by stitch, a group of ladies in Beiseker is relieving sadness and providing physical and mental relief to those less fortunate. Their afghans warm the bodies and souls of so many recipients. These words from one of the thank-you letters expresses the true value of the gift. “Those who receive a homemade blanket know it was made with love and by those who care.”
For information on this group contact Vera Schmaltz at 403-947-3788 or [email protected]
Brenda Dowell writes from Trochu, Alberta