When Antrim County police officers are called to a traumatic scene that involves a child — a car accident, an abusive home, a fire — they have something more to give than a helping hand. The Wednesday Piecemakers, a team of 18 big-hearted, nimble-fingered ladies, makes sure each officer has a homemade quilt to offer the child.
"When kids have to be removed from their home, sometimes they have nothing to take. This way, they have something," says Carol Livingston. Livingston is one of the founding members of the Piecemakers, whose members, after years of quilting together for fun one Wednesday a month, decided they needed a purpose. Inspired by the nationwide Linus Quilt Project, the group provides each Antrim County police car and the fire department with two quilts, and patrol and rescue boats with five Piecemaker-made "survival blankets" — fleece blankets backed with a nylon wind barrier.
The group, helped by fabric, thread and other donations from local churches, Lions Club and Rotary groups, has created more than 300 quilts. Happily, supply outweighs demand, but that doesn't slow down the Piecemakers a stitch. Now that they've amassed a hefty inventory for the local police and fire departments, they're sewing colorful placemats for the local Meals-on-Wheels organization.
Jeff Smith is editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in April 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.