Quilting with the RSVP

Ms. Joannie Smith

Ms. Joannie Smith

preparing to quilt

preparing to quilt

preparing to quilt

preparing to quilt

Ms. Nina Whitson

Ms. Nina Whitson

Ms. Marie Frazier

Ms. Marie Frazier

QUILTING. It is a national treasure. It is a term that most people know. Many have blankets that were quilted by family members from years gone by and are now being passed down through the generations. Well, mind there is a group of senior-aged volunteers, unhealthy right here in Walker County who gather once a week to use their quilting skills to bless others. They are woman that are part of the volunteer group called RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. You can use the skills and talents you’ve learned over the years, ampoule or develop new ones while serving in a variety of volunteer activities within your community. Walker County’s chapter of RSVP is run under the direction of Tammy McGee. Tammy helps these ladies gather to quilt. She loves on them. She feeds them lunch. And when the quilt is done, the ladies donate the blanket they have made to the local Red Cross. The blankets are then donated to families in need.

Through the help of our Second Wind Dreams® chapter at Ridgeview Health Services, we were looking for a way to help our ladies utilize their own quilting skills. Many had expressed a desire to quilt again. There was no space that was really available on site to lend itself to quilting. After several months of making phone calls, researching, and praying, our director of Second Wind Dreams, Sarah-Christen Ivey and Tammy McGee were put in touch with each other. It was a God-thing. Neither knew that the other one existed. And yet, it was very clear after a few minutes of conversation that the 2 groups of woman (from Ridgeview and RSVP) could help one another. Sarah-Christen took the time to visit the RSVP quilters. She heard their life stories. She learned that they had been praying for more women to join their volunteer circle – because their numbers were dwindling. Sarah-Christen and Tammy then set up a time to speak to some of the residence at Ridgeview. Tammy told the women about RSVP and how the women could come once a week and fellowship with the other quilters. They could use the skills God gave them to bless others. The excitement seemed to begin to ripple through the room during that meeting. In fact, one of the ladies who signed up to quilt had NEVER quilted before. She thought she could learn. Her name is Ms. Nina Whitson. When she came to Ridgeview she was not able to talk or use her hands. Over the course of her stay, she has learned how to speak once again and she uses her hands constantly to embroider. She has even made an embroidery picture of the Last Supper that Ridgeview hangs proudly in our dining area. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Ms. Nina knew that embroidery was much like quilting and maybe she could learn. The next week, four ladies (including Ms. Nina) loaded up on the Ridgeview van and went to the RSVP center. They quilted. They laughed. They talked. They ate lunch. They quilted some more. A good time was had by all. And, the women said that they loved the fact that something they loved to do would, ultimately, be a blessing to someone else. Wow. These ladies teach us that no matter what your stage of life, no matter the circumstance, God can use you to be a blessing to someone else. You just have to be willing to be His physical hands and feet here on earth.

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