By Steve Sears
As Quilting for a Cause NJ, an ambitious group of charitable quilters, prepared to celebrate its second anniversary over Martin Luther King Day weekend, it received some nice news: a proclamation from Pequannock Mayor Dave Kohle.
The proclamation, awarded on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at a Pequannock Town Council meeting, was issued by Mayor Kohle citing the importance of Quilting for a Cause NJ and its significant achievements in making 1772 quilts for people who are homeless. The proclamation brings further awareness to the problem of homelessness in the United States, and acknowledges the founder, Rosemary Deming-Phalon, and the rest of the Quilting for a Cause NJ team.
“I did not know that I was receiving the proclamation,” says Deming-Phalon. “I had mentioned to the mayor that I would be coming to the Town Council meeting to thank Pequannock Township for continuing to support Quilting for a Cause NJ. I did the same thing last year. I invited some of the volunteers to come and to bring a quilt. It was a wonderful surprise!”
It is also apropos that Quilting for a Cause NJ celebrated anniversary number two the same weekend the famed civil rights leader is recognized. “Martin Luther King Day is a day of service, so it was the perfect time to start our mission (in 2017) of helping people who are homeless.”
Deming-Phalon and her husband, Joe, started their organization in their living room with a few volunteers using the fabric that they’d inherited from his mother. “We started out with a few adults and some Girl Scouts and now we have 100 volunteers. We are proud and filled with gratitude for everyone who has supported our mission. It is very emotional to think about how big this has gotten in such a short amount of time.”
Quilting for a Cause NJ has planned a 24 hour Sew-a-Thon on Saturday February 23 and Sunday February 24 from 10 a.m. until 10 a.m. “It’s going to be a bigger event than last year. We have more volunteers , a larger sewing space, games, door prizes, 3 meals, and lots of sewing and quilting supplies. We will have multiple stations for volunteers to work at, sorting and organizing fabric, ironing, pinning the three quilt layers together, trimming and squaring quilts, binding and the final step is adding the quilt label,” says Deming-Phalon. Door prizes will be given away and fun games provided by volunteers for the event’s entirety. “Very important is that we will have music for 24 hours, it will get louder, and livelier as the night goes on”.
This year’s Sew-a-Thon will be held at Holy Spirit School in Pequannock. “I approached Sr. Marie Antonelli last year to see if we could use the school for our event,” explains Deming-Phalon, who has often been invited to speak at meetings about Quilting for a Cause NJ. “The answer was an immediate yes. Sr. Marie wanted to know what they could do to help in addition to letting us use the space. The young children at the school will write letters and draw pictures that we can deliver with our quilts. The older students will volunteer with us sewing and quilting. They will also help us set up and clean-up which is a huge task! Holy Spirit families will provide coffee and baked goods for 24 hours.”
2019 will be a busy year for Deming-Phalon and Quilting for a Cause NJ. “We will be pinning quilts at Acme Country Fabrics every Friday morning from 10-12 all year. We will be quilting and sewing at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on the second Tuesday of every month starting on February 12. We have a full schedule of weekend dates for the entire year. In addition to our regular calendar of events, we will be adding corporate dates once per month. Many employers give their employees a day off to go out into their community and volunteer. Last year we had McCann and Wyndham Hotels. We plan to have one event per month for the remainder of the year. It is also my hope to get more young students involved in addition to the Girl Scouts who sew with us and the Boy Scouts who help us move and set up and clean up each time there is an event.”
To learn more, visit the organization’s website, www.Quiltingforacausenj.org.