By Steve Sears
Pequannock-based Quilting for a Cause NJ has for almost four years donated quilts to the homeless in all 50 United States and 6 other countries.
In fact, in early 2019 the group received from the Township of Pequannock a proclamation citing its worthwhile endeavors and significant achievement in making by that time 1,772 quilts.
Fast forward almost two years, and Quilting for a Cause NJ recently reached a milestone of creating and donating their 4,000th quilt.
“Reaching 4,000 quilts in less than four years is a huge accomplishment,” says founder, Rosemary Deming-Phalon. “The number just snuck up on us. I am so proud of our volunteers. I am grateful for the countless hours of volunteer work. There has been no hesitation at all to continue our mission. The need for quilts is greater than ever. The numbers of people who are without homes is on the rise.”
The group, which Deming-Phalon and her husband, Joe, founded in their living room with a few volunteers on January 21, 2017, used that day fabric that they’d inherited from his mother. An initial few adults and Girl Scout members have grown to around 75-100 volunteers. “The number fluctuates,” Deming-Phalon says.
The group, which annually holds a Sew-a-Thon, was denied the opportunity this year. Poor weather in January and the arrival of the COVID19 pandemic two months later squashed those plans. “Our 4-year anniversary is January 17, 2021. We are planning a virtual celebration,” says Deming-Phalon. Also, Quilting for a Cause NJ has not been able to meet once per month as a group due to the coronavirus, but instead has been sewing at their homes. “We pass around supplies by leaving bags on volunteers’ doorsteps,” says Deming-Phalon. “When the quilts are finished, we bring them to Haydon Corporation in Wayne. Rich Phelan and his company pay to ship our quilts to all of the United States.” Demand is large. “We currently have a waiting list to receive our quilts. We used to seek out locations to donate our quilts.”
A key note to make is that the group’s quilt production slowed down when they were asked by Chilton Hospital to make masks. “Once the word was out,” says Deming-Phalon, “we got requests from everywhere for masks. We made over 5,000 masks; we stopped counting. Our donations of fabric just keep coming. We had a thread drive in September, and we received enough thread to keep us quilting for another year. We do, however, need donations of quilt batting.”
Per Deming-Phalon, Quilting for a Cause NJ eagerly looks forward to the new year. “We are anxious to get together as a large group again. The energy in the room is exciting. We hope to get back to having corporate days where companies such as Target, give their employees a day off to volunteer with us. 2021 will be bigger and better than ever. It will be nice to get back on the street and give our quilts directly to those in need.”
Deming-Phalon also states new volunteers are always welcome. “We are always looking for new volunteers. Everyone is welcome and there is no experience necessary. You can email us or leave a message on Facebook or on our website, www.Quiltingforacausenj.org.”