‘Quilts for Vets’ aiming to gather 50 lap quilts for Christmas


Tammy Eckhardt takes a break from quilting to clean her machine while Dorene Wirth cuts fabric for her next quilt at Lewistown’s Sew Pieceful.

Photo by Jenny Gessaman

Most people would agree: March is too early to be thinking about Christmas. But if you were planning to gift 50 hand-made quilts, like the local American Legion is, you might start your holiday preparations a littler earlier, too.

Post Commander Don Bost said this is the first year for Quilts for Vets, a project designed to deliver quilts to the veterans in local nursing homes.

“Every year, we give the vets that are in the nursing homes something, like challenge coins,” he explained. “This year, we wanted to do something substantial.”

The group felt quilts fit the community and gave a chance for anyone to be involved.

Because the vets keep the quilts, Bost and the American Legion plan to give one quilt to each person who served their country. That means the first year of the project will have a daunting number of pieces to make, he said, but the following holidays will be much easier.

“It’s a tough nut to crack the first year,” he said. “After that, it’s easy.”

For the project’s inaugural run, Bost has turned to Lewistown Sew Pieceful for help. Owner Tammy Eckhardt is eager to embrace her role as a Quilt for Vets volunteer.

“I am a point of contact for information about the quilts,” she said.

Eckhardt also said she was a drop-off site for finished quilts, and is donating some of shop’s time to help local quilters work on projects.

“The third Tuesday of every month, I open up the store for anyone who wants to quilt with a group of ladies,” she said.

While she doesn’t have sewing machines for everyone, she does have plenty of tabletop space and lights. Local resident Dorene Wirth is already taking advantage of Eckhardt’s offer.

“It’s a wonderful space in which to work,” she said.

Wirth stretched her hands across a third of the counter she was at.

“I have about this much room at home, and my fabric is all in color-coded boxes,” she said.

Not only is Eckhardt offering space, she’s offering help on starting a quilt, too.

“If they know how to sew, I have beginning patterns that people could use for free,” she said.

Eckhardt and Wirth have both started working toward the year-end goal of 50 quilts, and Wirth is grateful Quilt for Vets has given her a way to help her community.

“I think everybody needs to give what they can, and this is what I can,” she said.


Are you ready to quilt for vets?

Quilt restrictions: There’s only one. The lap quilts have to be 40-50 inches.

Drop-off sites: Lewistown’s Sew Pieceful, the American Legion

For more information: Tammy Eckhardt at 535-3122, the American Legion at 538.9086



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