Quilters Promote Project SAFE

 By Lynda Duplissea, Publicity Chair

Sadly, children and senior citizens are caught in traumatic, emotional and transitional situations every day, and for this reason, Project SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies) was born almost two decades ago.  While the City of Calais does not have a local chapter for Project SAFE, The St. Croix International Quilters  (SCIQ) did not let that fact prohibit them from taking action. 

When SCIQ President Sue McIver first learned about the program, she knew what she had to do. First, she contacted the Calais Regional Hospital; then she introduced the idea at the quilter’s business meeting last fall. 

“I brought up the idea about SAFE at a meeting. Right away the members agreed with me so we decided to collect new stuffed animals from January through March for the Emergency room of the Calais Regional Hospital.”  The stuffed animal drive resulted in 26 cuddly critters arriving at the Emergency room on April 18, 2014.

McIver’s enthusiasm showed as she handed the collection to Dr. Erik St. Pierre, MD, Alison Monaghan, and Diana Howell who accepted the donation on behalf of the Calais Regional Hospital’s Emergency Room team. 

There were teddy bears large and small. Some were home made while others were purchased.  As SCIQ’s VP Liz Trouant, treasurer Pat Wyeth-Kasel , and  member Lynda Duplissea handed over the collection one by one , McIver explained, “One of our members, Jane Eaton, knitted a sweater for her bear and Carmelle Garant made two baby friendly animals for the very young in need.  And look at this one, Julie Jordan pieced it herself.” Jordan’s dark brown bear sported several colorful half square triangles on his chest.

“This donation could not have come at a better time. I think there will be enough animals to take us through the end of the year,” states Diana Howell. “They will ease the nerves of young and old who come to us, children who are very sick, were in a car accident, even some of our elderly patients who want a little comfort through the night. These animals help them feel secure.”  Dr. Erik St. Pierre, MD and Alison Monaghan agree.

This is not the first time the SCIQ, whose membership comes from the greater Calais and St. Stephen areas, have used their talents to help others. “We make quilts for Hospice clients in Charlotte and Washington counties, sew and deliver Anti-Ouch pouches to breast cancer hospitals in Bangor and Saint John NB, make donations to local food pantries, and so much more,” says McIver.  

“Over the next few months through our Quilt Show this fall, you will see a beautiful quilt called Gaelic Garden and have a chance to purchase raffle tickets on it. The proceeds from this will go to the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor. Tickets may be purchased at The Wool Emporium in St. Stephen, from SCIQ members or at various craft shows or festivals in the upcoming months,” she adds.

The St. Croix International Quilters meet at the Methodist Homes Rec Center in Calais on the third Wednesday of each month for a business meeting. Two workshops are also held each month. Guests and new members are welcome to attend.  See their website for more information: http://www.stcroixquilters.com