With less funding coming into its coffers and equipment languishing, the Wilsonville Piecemakers have had to dip into personal funds in recent years to pay for the production costs associated with manufacturing quilts for a gamut of organizations.
But via a sizeable contribution from the City of Wilsonville, members likely won't have to personally invest in the program this year.
Through the Opportunity Grant program, the Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board awarded a $7,355 grant to Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. and the Wilsonville Piecemakers club, according to a City of Wilsonville press release published Thursday, Oct. 12. They also doled out $3,000 to Wilsonville High School for the auditorium lighting system and $2,000 for the I-5 Connection Chorus.
The grant money is funded through the city's General Fund and is designed to further educational and artistic opportunities in the community. Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. asked for more than $9,000 in its grant application.
"We're very excited about the amount that the City gave to us in regard to our request for the grant. What it means is it will be much easier for us to provide quilts for recipients we provide the product to," Wilsonville Piecemakers member Mindy Bergquist said.
The Wilsonville Piecemakers is a club within Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. and consists of 12 women between the ages of 69 and 94 who gather once a week and produce 150 quilts a year as well as pillows and other items. They give these comforting materials to organizations such as Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, Randall Children's Hopsital, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, and Housecall Providers. The Piecemakers accept quilt material donations from the public.
"It lets them know there is someone that really cares. It wraps that love around them," Wilsonville Community Seniors Inc. Vice Chair Lynn Carlton said of the quilts.
Just a few years ago, Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. didn't have to worry about applying for grants or fundraising.
But when they could no longer count on the more than $15,000 annual contribution from the defunct Lamb's Wlsonville Thriftway, funding for Wilsonville Piecemakers and other groups within the organization dried up.
"It's really hard to get things accomplished. Our age group is such that a lot of the people we represent aren't able to go out and try to raise money," Carlton said.
Since then, nembers of the Piecemakers have often had to use their own money to purchase items.
"They've had some challenging years financially so they haven't been able to provide us with annual budget they had given us in the past. We've relied more on our quilting
members to provide more products themselves," Bergquist said.
With the money, Wilsonville Piecemakers will purchase three new sewing machines, refurbish existing machines and buy fabric. In turn, they hope to sew quilts more prolifically.
Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. is deliberating fundraising opportunities and will apply for more grants in the future. Carlton says they hope to jumpstart a program that would provide seniors with handy bags full of food, water, supplies and important documents in case of emergency and to start a brain training class.
"We're not down and out. We're going to find other
ways to raise money," Carlton said.