Pieceful Shores Guild Donates Dozens of Quilts for Christmastime

Nov 22, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy

What the Pieceful Shores Quilters Guild originally had started more than 15 years ago as a means of providing local police departments with something to keep within patrol cars in case children were found wandering streets or rescued during catastrophes has changed in scope a bit over the years.

“The original idea was to have quilts in cop cars for when police found children,” said Phyllis Townsend, the guild’s treasurer, who has been part of it since its inception nearly 25 years ago. “Eventually, they didn’t need them anymore, so we stopped doing that and started donating to Stafford Township for the PBA’s toy drive.”

Of course, nowadays the annual Stafford Township Toy Drive is mostly overseen by the township recreation department, as Jennifer McBrien and Deb Budesa spearhead the operation that delivers toys and coats to local families in need of Christmas gifts and winter coats. On Nov. 15, McBrien, Budesa and others from the “Rec-ing Crew” were on hand during one of Pieceful Shores’ bi-monthly meetings to receive this year’s contribution of quilts from the guild.

“This year, we donated 45 quilts for the Stafford Township Toy Drive,” said Helen Seiser, the guild’s president, who has been part of the group for five years. “We have 80 members, and some will make one while others will make many. About two-thirds of our group is involved in making these, and it’s a year-long project.”

Townsend, who has “done a few quilts over the years,” described the work done by members as “eclectic.” And, certainly, that is the case – some were patterned with trucks or planes, while others had stitched squares comprised of Strawberry Shortcake, camping scenes, cuddly bears and hearts, and even classic cars.

“I see a lot creativity in our quilts,” Seiser said. “The colors are fabulous, and a lot of work and thought goes into putting them all together.”

The next day, during the evening of Nov. 16, the guild donated an additional 41 quilts, mostly decorated using some pattern of red, white and blue, to the Disabled American Veterans group in Forked River.

“I just like doing them,” Townsend said. “It’s something to do that takes me away from thinking about what’s for dinner or anything like that. It’s fulfilling, knowing your hard work is going toward something good for the community.”

But that’s not all the guild does throughout the year. With workshops twice a month at the Bay Avenue Community Center – located at 775 East Bay Ave. in Manahawkin – the group is always taking in new members who enjoy the bonding experience quilting together develops, and they often have quilting “challenges” and other projects on the slate, as well as instructional sessions for beginners and advanced quilters.

“Our workshops are twice a month,” said Lynn Hutcheson, the guild’s secretary and a member since 2007. “We talk about techniques and uses of patterns and do other instructional things. We’ll also work on boutique items for our quilt show at Ocean Acres Community Center, which is next October. But the main reason we get together is to form friendships. That’s the big thing for me, it’s that we become friends and care about each other.”

That compassion ultimately gets poured into many quilts that go to provide some warmth for many individuals.

“Our ladies love to give back to the community,” Seiser said. “The township gives us this great space to meet twice a month, and this is our way of repaying them for what they do for us, by giving to the community.”

To find out more about Pieceful Shores, visit online at piecefulshoresquiltguild.org.

— David Biggy


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