Thousands of quilts have gone north


September 15, 2016

Diana Zimmerman

For 57 years, the ladies of the Puget Island Auxilliary have been making quilts and more for children who visit the Seattle Children's Hospital. Current members are (Front row, left to right) Cora Irving, Jean Kenner and (Back row, left to right) Susan Brown, Maureen Zacher-Bockius, Priscilla Gray, Helen Keyser, Ora-Loraine Bauer, Patty Ingersoll, Pearl Blackburn, Gladys Keepers, Merri Keepers. Not pictured: Nancy "Blue" Trott.

In the near future, boxes filled with love will leave Wahkiakum County and head north to Seattle.

The boxes have been making this trip every year since 1959, when the Puget Island Auxiliary was formed. The women's group makes quilts and other items for children who go to the Seattle Children's Hospital for care.

This year, 35 hand made quilts, 59 knitted hats, books, stuffed animals, crayons and more will be dropped off at a thrift store in Olympia. The thrift store will deliver them to Seattle.

Each child that arrives at the hospital will find a unique, handmade quilt waiting for them. It is theirs to keep, along with some of the other items.

"Our sole purpose is to make quilts and hats and layettes, surgery dolls, anything that makes the children happy at the hospital," Ora-Loraine Bauer said.

The surgery dolls and their hospital gowns are made by Gladys Keepers. They are given to children who will be having surgery. The dolls are usually made of cotton and the child is welcome to decorate it with a face or in any way that pleases them. The doctor will use the doll to describe to the child what kind of surgical procedure he or she may be doing. The child gets to keep the doll.

After some discussion, the ladies estimated that it takes 8-10 hours to make a quilt. One year alone the group clocked 1,400 hours. Each member has different gifts. Some sew or knit or crochet. Some come to work parties and stuff the dolls. They all have something to contribute.

According to Bauer, the group has easily sent more than 3,000 quilts to the hospital in the past 57 years.

"It's just for the love of the children at the hospital that we do this," Bauer said.

The group meets at 10:30 a.m. on the second Monday of every month except for June, July, and August at St. Catherine Catholic Church.

All kinds of donations are welcomed, whether it is financial support, fabric that is washable or new books and toys.

Diana Zimmerman

Susan Brown displays one of the quilts she made for the Seattle Children's Hospital.


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