For the past eight months, quilters have been gathering in Ventura, stitching together comforters for those who lost so much in the Thomas Fire and Montecito’s January debris flow. Their blocks of fabric have come from 49 states and seven countries, as have cash donations and complete quilts, enough to create more than 650 quilts. The Thomas Fire Relief Project holds its final distribution popup on Saturday, July 28.
“The response has been amazing,” said Stacey Birchfield, one of the 60 women and men of the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild. At the previous popups, people have shared stories about the quilts they lost in the fire or flood that were made by their grandmothers. Others, still shell-shocked from the disaster, burst into tears at the realization that someone would care so much to hand-sew a quilt for them. “The quilts are a virtual hug from your neighbors all across the country,” Birchfield said.
The idea caught on after one of the Ventura quilt guild members created a project block — a template for nine small squares. Six blocks by seven blocks make a whole quilt, Birchfield explained. A national quilting association publicized the project in a newsletter, and the donations poured into superbuzzy, a Ventura fabric store that has been Quilt Central for the project. They received so many supplies and quilts that an office was donated to hold them all, but that loan runs out at the end of the month.
Any fire or flood survivor who’d like to participate can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information and directions to Saturday’s popup event in Ventura.