The definition of resilience is: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness
That is the feeling that I had when I left the meeting with three of the members of the Ridge Quilt Guild.....the guild in Paradise.
The president lost her home, but she saved her President's binder and brought it to the meeting. They saved all of their community quilts, but they lost the fabric to make more. They saved their opportunity quilt called "Sweet Surrender", but these ladies are doing anything but surrender to the devastation that swept through their community.
The three ladies that Gail and I met with have been able to contact 77 of their members. They believe they can get a core of 30 to 40 members back together.
Do they have a meeting place.....no.
Do they have a place for workshops.....no.
Do they have tables and chairs.....no.
Do they have everything they need to host their quilt show.....no.
Have most of the guild members lost everything......YES
This is where we come in to help. I'm going to write a substantial check to the guild and let them prioritize their greatest needs to keep them together. Now more than ever, the members need to be able to gather and rebuild their sense of community. Guilds do so much good. By helping this guild, they will in turn help their community heal as well as heal themselves.
I took this picture this morning while processing more of the checks that came yesterday. I'm not sure that it was the best idea to show the fire in the background.....but I thought I would leave it. After all, these are the envelopes that have poured in with checks for the victims of the Camp Fire. All of you have been amazing and you've helped so many already.
To date.....drum roll.....quilters across the world have donated $13,105 !!!!
The bank tellers look forward to seeing me and love being updated on the progress of the fundraiser. I'm sure the folks at the Post Office think I'm getting way too many Christmas cards!
I'm also going to be able to buy some quilting supplies for the quilters. More on that as the orders are placed and received for pins, rotary cutters, blades and rulers.
The thank you cards make me cry. Here's a paragraph from one letter that came yesterday.
"We are so grateful to you and your sister, and your quilting guilds for all your love and support! This holiday season, we are focusing on gratitude - not for material things, but rather on friendship and kindness of others. People have shown us so much kindness and have been so compassionate!"Here's another except from a thank you note.
"Please know, and share with your most kind and generous friends, that you have touched us during a time that is unbelievably surreal. You have reminded us of the goodness in the world, and that there are people with hearts that shine brightly during such storms.....there is no way to thank you adequately for this. But, thank you, from our hearts to yours."So I still have more work to do to raise more donations to help some first responders. I'm going to the Preview Party at the Purple Orchid tomorrow sponsored by In Between Stitches. I will have my little red kettle out and shake my bell for more donations.
Gail and I also met with a long-time family friend last Monday. Our mothers started the pre-school together in Paradise in the 1950's......that's how far we go back. It was hard to listen to Bettie's story of escape. She was surrounded by flames and propane tanks were exploding around her. It took her five hours to get out of town to safety. She looked at us and said, "I'm 70 years old.....I have nothing except for a few new clothes." Bettie is also a quilter and my sister Gail gave her a sewing machine, cutting boards, rulers and supplies. She was meeting with a realtor (after we met) to purchase a home in Chico. We found out yesterday she was out-bid by $25,000! Some of the homes for sale are selling for $100,000 more than the asking price. This is just one story. Multiply this by the 27,000 people displaced.
If you are new to my blog, you can read about my fundraising efforts HERE and HERE.