Pelham New York Comfort Quilt Project

The Story

On the Friday following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Mary Anne and her husband Tom attended a candlelight vigil at the gazebo in the town park of Pelham, New York.  While there, they felt moved to do something to reach out to those affected in their community.  Even though they didn’t know any of the families personally, they decided that they would make a quilt for each of the families in Pelham who had lost a loved one.  This was the beginning of the Pelham, New York Comfort Quilt Project.

Mary Anne went home and posted a request on a few different internet quilting sites asking for volunteers to make quilt blocks.  The blocks would be mailed to her and she would put them together into quilts.  She was overwhelmed by the response.  As the blocks began to arrive, it was a humbling experience to feel the love and care that had been put into making each one.  Driven to share as much of this experience with all who were participating, she established an internet e-mail group to enable all to share information.  Pictures of the quilt tops were displayed and updates of the progress of the project were posted.  The website allowed each person, whether a participant or an admirer, to share their feelings or thoughts.  From a small beginning, this project just blossomed:

Idaho (where Mary Anne grew up), a church teenager’s group tied a quilt, while younger girls made a baby quilt.  Some of Mary Anne’s high school friends tied three quilts as a result of just one of them wanting to be a part of the experience. 

Their daughter Emily Weinheimer was attending Iowa State University; she and her friends made enough blocks for an entire quilt top.

A group in Canada started collecting blocks.  By the beginning of November, they sent three completed tops and an additional 17 blocks.

Some of Mary Anne’s sewing students made their own blocks and requested they be included in a quilt going to a family they knew personally.

In addition to all this, a few companies generously donated fabric and quilt batting.  Some even set aside time to do machine quilting.  Other people who did not quilt donated their time in different ways.  Over 130 individuals made a contribution in some way.  This tremendous outpouring of generosity allowed quilts to be given to many more families outside of the Pelham community.

List of Contributors