The Ashland Beacon
For more than 10 years, a group of women in Boyd County has been making and donating quilts to the Community Hospice Care Center for patients to use during a most vulnerable time.
The Boyd County Hospice Quilters is made up of about 25 women that are passionate about helping others through their talents of sewing.
“We started in the fall of 2009,” said Betty Thacker, a retired teacher who taught home economics at Boyd County High School. “My sister, Linda Dyer, and I started it when my husband’s father was in hospice care, and got a quilt. My husband’s mom said ‘You girls should do this.’ And it has evolved from there.”
The quilters have made and donated over 700 quilts, and have recently branched out to make pillow cases for the Build A Bed organization, as well as cloth face masks during the Covid19 pandemic. “It has been a very good thing during the pandemic. Hospice called and asked if we could make masks. I’ve made hundreds myself, and the other ladies have made them, too. We laugh and say we’ve become essential workers.” She noted that she also makes face masks to give home health workers to give their patients.
Thacker is quick to share the credit for making quilts and masks. She said that there are other quilting groups in surrounding counties that make and donate quilts and masks. “Some other groups in Ohio, and Greenup and Carter County have probably done more than we have. One group cannot do it all, to take care of everyone.”
The quilting group operates out of the Meade Station Church of God. “The pastor has been really good about letting us do this, giving us a space to store fabric and meet. When we started out, we had nothing. But people started donating fabric, and now we get lots of donations. Our last big donation was from a lady who had crafted all her life, and she brought her SUV filled to the top with fabric.” One small room in the church is lined with shelves filled with fabric.
Thacker explained that it takes about three months to make a quilt, but it is an ongoing process. “The first month, the quilters will make a quilt top. I teach a class in how to do it. I demonstrate how to do the design, or they can quilt their own design.” The quilt tops, batting and bottom are sent to a business that puts the quilt together, then they are sent back to the group for binding.
“We started putting an embroidered heart on the back of each quilt that says, ‘Stitched with love by a hospice quilter.’ I and one of the others do the embroidery,” she said. The quilts are made to be lap-size, about 50x60 inches. The quilters meet monthly, although Thacker said, “During the pandemic we didn’t meet until this month. I would leave the hearts and directions here at the church for the ladies to pick up.”
She said that she drops off piles of quilts at the hospice building, and they are given out as needed. Each quilt is worth 40 hours of community service or volunteer hours.
“As I mentioned, we run totally on donations, and there are costs involved in paying for the quilting machine and batting. People donate fabric as well as money to help us with the costs.” Anyone wishing to donate can contact Betty Thacker through the Meade Station Church of God.