Members of the Cape Coral Quilter's Guild donated 199 handmade quilts to local organizations Monday morning at Christ Lutheran Church.
Guild members spent an entire year creating custom quilts from donated fabric, explained president Carol Melvin, and the ceremony to hand out the quilts is the culmination of a year's work.
"We work all year for this, every Monday, here at the church," said Melvin. "We cut them up, sew them all together and make our quilts."
Cape Coral Quilters Guild president Carol Melvin, far right, presents quilts to U.S. Army Pfc and Cape Coral resident Michael Araujo and his daughter Malia during the organization’s annual give-away at Christ Lutheran Church Monday. The guild gave away 199 quilts created by its members to several local organizations. Also pictured at center are Michael’s wife Ashley, left, and his mother Dana. Araujo was severely wounded by a roadside bomb last October in Afghanistan.
This year the guild chose eight local organizations to receive the quilts. The organizations - Cape Coral Police Department, Lee Memorial Progressive Care, Hospice of Cape Coral, Special Angels, Cape Chateau, Napolean Adult and Family Care, Juniper Village and Windsor of Cape Coral - received a number of quilts ranging from 10 to as many as 40.
The community service representative for the guild, Patty Bartkowski, said the most basic quilt takes approximately one month to sew, but as the pattern becomes more tedious, so does the amount of time it takes for completion.
Bartkowski also chooses who benefits from the quilt drive and tries to choose needy groups, as well as new or smaller-sized nursing homes. For instance, Special Angels is the preschool at the church, Windsor of Cape Coral is a new assisted living center in the city and Hope Hospice's children's center were among the recipients.
"Every year I try to find some smaller nursing homes and give them a quilt," she said. "This year, for the first time, we gave to the children's division of Hope Hospice."
Another new feature this year was the sewing of more than 200 patriotic stockings for "Stockings for Soldiers," a program benefitting U.S. service personnel in Afghanistan.
The guild also decided to donate quilts to Michael Araujo and his daughter, Malia.
He is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was injured when a roadside bomb exploded next to his vehicle.
Araujo received a quilt designed with a patriotic theme while his daughter's quilt is called an "I Spy" because it's full of small prints that she can identify.
"She's been playing with it the whole time," said Michael's wife, Ashley. "She loves her quilt."