A collection of Northern Beaches quilters have been donating time, talent and materials to make blankets and quilts for the flood-affected residents of Lismore to share the warmth this winter.
Jeanette Maxwell is a quilting tutor who has been running classes for 30 years and teaches about 30 women on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Forestville Community Arts Centre. Hearing about the Lismore floods she wanted to provide comfort and support for the community up north and so, with the help of her students, began quilting for a cause.
“I had a dream and I wanted to help out, it was the support of these ladies that made it come true,” she said.
One of these talented women, Paulette Weber, grew up in Lismore herself and has a sister-in-law, Deb Evans, still living there who helps run the Baptist church in Ballina.
Mrs Weber told Manly Observer of the impact these floods have had on the residents of Lismore and what her family and hometown have been through.
“They’ve got people that are so in need but they’ve got no way to give them things because their houses aren’t liveable,” she said.
“What they’ve done is put a lot of it in storage so that they can hand it out as required, but she said it’s up to the rafters. She made 200 hot meals and 200 desserts – they distributed those, but she said it just doesn’t go far enough.”
Mrs Weber lived in Lismore during the last highest flood recorded in 1954. She remembered how difficult it was to clean up after a natural disaster like that and how near to impossible it is to get the smell out of everything, as well as the mud and slush.
Mrs Weber told many distressing stories of individuals trying to rebuild their lives after the 2022 floods in Lismore. She spoke of a 93-year-old woman who isn’t able to get anybody in to clean her home, but doesn’t qualify for assistance due to her financial status, even though anyone else in her age group would be a priority.
Or one lady who has five children and is currently staying at her mother’s home where they have pushed the couches together to make beds for the children while their home is unliveable.
“Everyone wants to help but it’s hard knowing how to help best on such a massive scale.”
These quilts are a way of sending warmth to the residents of Lismore not only during this time of upheaval but as the weather gets colder they can wrap themselves up with a blanket stitched together with love.
“I want them to know we are thinking of them,” said tutor Jeanette Maxwell.
Currently, there are 40 finished quilts, with another 30 that need to be joined together to make a total of 70 warm blankets to send to the Ballina Baptist Church where Deb Evans works. There they will be distributed as fairly as possible.
But these ladies need your help.
The average cost of making a quilt is between $200-$500, and while they have happily donated so much of their own materials and hours of their time, any contributions to help cover costs of materials and transport would be very much appreciated.
We have helped them set up a Go fund me page for anyone who would like to contribute funds to purchase materials for the quilts, which you can view here.
So far they have received donations from Mayor Michael Regan, who has been covering the rent for the community room during their classes; Hornsby Spotlight has donated some materials that contributed to the creation of the finished quilts; and Bendigo Bank has kindly donated $1000, which will go towards finalising approximately five of the 30 remaining quilts.