Quilting for those in need

Margaret Berg, co-chairperson of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Action quilting group, knows what it means to devote her time and energy every month for a cause ? after all, she along with others in her group has been doing it for decades.

?It?s been going on for a minimum of 50 years,? Berg said of the quilting ministry, where WELCA members meet for two days out of the month every month to sew quilts that eventually end up in the hands of people in need.

Friday, volunteers loaded 53 boxes of quilts, toiletries and other items into a trailer bound for Lutheran World Relief in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Completed boxes that have been collected throughout the year are sent to LWR annually on the third Saturday in October.

?Libertyville Savings Bank [lent] us a trailer free of charge,? Berg said, explaining that volunteer Gary Debner hitched the trailer to his truck and drove it to Cedar Rapids this year.

?There is a semi truck waiting to go to Minneapolis there. The trailer has already been unloaded and it?s waiting to be returned ... it?s a very efficient process,? Berg said. ?I just mailed a thank-you note to [the bank Sunday].?

Berg said the process of gathering items for baby kits, such as receiving blankets and baby clothing, toothbrushes, combs, nail clippers and other toiletries and quilts made by the WELCA team goes on year in, year out.

?Donations are welcome. It all goes to Lutheran World Relief. It could go to a disaster area, or a poorer country ? it just goes to wherever there is a need,? Berg said.

Every year, LWR sends out a list to Evangelical Lutheran churches.

?We make up the kits with what they request on the list,? Berg said.

Almost everything is donated.

However, WELCA purchases quilt batting, the community donates other materials for the quilts that the women sew during WELCA Action Work Days.

?Fabric is donated for the quilts, people just give us stuff. We receive fabric of all sizes and sheets and bed spreads ? we like sheets. All of that can be used for quilting,? she said. ?Stuff can be used, as long as it is clean.?

Berg, who co-chairs the group with Letha Goehring, said anyone is welcome to join and help out.

?We have some people who are there almost every time. But we also have people who are not members of our church who come out and help us,? she said. ?We usually have around 10 people. But sometimes we have 12 or 14 who come out.?

Berg said that someone in the group usually volunteers to start a quilt out by ?sewing the tops on.?

The group meets every third Monday and Tuesday of each month from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Berg said times vary on the second day, and volunteers might leave early.

Anyone is welcome to volunteer, and those interested should contact Berg at 472-2543.