By Kathi Ogden
What does a 97 year old retiree and a group of 25 women have in common? They all love to quilt!
The Kimball East humanitarian group is a very busy group. They meet every Thursday morning at the stake center, from 10 a.m. to noon, and they get a lot done in just those few hours.
They are busy quilting, crocheting, sewing, looming hats and making a few new friends.
In the past, the group would pick up humanitarian kits from the humanitarian center (now the Inter-stake Center), complete the kits, and return them back to the humanitarian center for distribution. Since the closing of the humanitarian center, all items are now made completely from member donations of yarn and materials, and all are distributed locally, guided by each local stakes’ needs.
According to Kristin Durrant, the Kimball East Stake humanitarian leader, last year they finished and donated 160 quilts, 316 crocheted, knitted or loomed hats, 52 book bags, 64 pairs of crocheted slippers, 73 crocheted lapghans (lap-sized afghans) and 30 aprons to organizations such as A New Leaf, the Citadel Assisted Living and the Montecito Care facility. Brother Mac Matheson is a big part of that group. He and his wife, Ouida May, had celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary before she passed away a few years ago. As a widower, with time on his hands and a desire to serve, Mac learned to sew. He puts together the beautiful quilt tops and passes them on to the Kimball East Stake humanitarian group (dubbed the “Kimball East quilters”), who finish them, and send them off to find a new home at the A New Leaf shelters or somewhere else they are needed.
The quilts are made assembly line style, starting at the quilting frames, where they are tied, then moved on to the trimming and pinning tables. Last, they go to the sewing table for the final stitching.
For those who prefer to do other things, there is also a crocheting table set up.
His daughter, Leileen Waite, is one of approximately 25 women who help with finishing off the quilts. “He loves to work on projects,” she says. She takes precut quilt squares to him and helps him lay out the fabric with different colors and patterns in artistic and creative ways. He then sews them together throughout the week. Leileen says her dad is self-taught and did not really start sewing till later in life. Mac also donates book bags, which he sews himself, for the kids in the programs. Besides sewing for humanitarian service projects, he also spends time helping to do name extractions online, to help with family history work.
Brother Matheson, along with the group of ladies, find a lot of joy and satisfaction in knowing that the service they give, from their hearts and their hands, goes to making others happy and comfortable.
The recipients are always excited and grateful to receive their gifts.