Gifts of Quilts from All Over the World
The latest on the Japanese website says to go to Facebook. Facebook and I are not well acquainted and I rarely make an appearance there. But I figured out how to get to Facebook and checked the latest message. There have been 13 updates since the request for quilts was first made. I'm sorry, I didn't go back and read all the updates (that would take my poor Japanese reading ability much too long!) There were lots of pictures for each update about where the quilts have been distributed and how they were received. If you can figure out how to get to Patchwork Quilt Tsushin's Facebook site then the pictures will be very uplifting.
But I did read and translate the last update made on September 28th.
8,566 quilts have been received from Japan as well as from overseas since the earthquake and tsunami, 8,300 of those have been distributed to evacuees in the Tohoku region. On August 30, the Sendai organization Rosy Bell invited actress, Kazuko Kato and the children’s author, Yoko Yamazaki, to help hand out quilts to evacuees in Miyagi prefecture’s Yamamoto-cho.
Rosy Bell works mainly with helping delinquent youths regain a place in society. Since the earthquake they have been focusing on distributing goods to victims in the Miyagi area. As well as food items, quilts have been especially welcome.
First the organization visited the children of Yamamoto Kindergarten and amongst the 350 quilts that were set out, a presentation ceremony was conducted. Ms. Kato read a story to the children and also led a rhythmic session. Ms. Yamazaki spoke with the parents. They talked about how the children were just being taken home by kindergarten bus when the earthquake occurred. Fighting fear and confusion, the bus managed to return to the kindergarten. The kindergarten staff spoke of the relief of being able to report that everyone was safe. Even now, the childrens' smiles and trusting faces stay fixed in the staffs’ minds but while talking with Ms. Yamazaki, many mothers were moved to tears as they recalled the terrifying day.
The next place for the quilt distributers to visit was Niko Niko Teahouse. Here, 50 quilts were given to the residents and in return Ms. Kato was presented with a letter of gratitude and flowers.
The people viewing the quilts were continuously commenting, “How beautiful! Look at this cute one!” Although the rebuilding of the Miyagi area will take a long time, the quilts will serve to heal wounded hearts.
We wish to thank all the people who have sent quilts so far and who may still be planning to send quilts. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The Facebook article and also the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin website announced that they will be accepting quilts for donation until the end of November. As for the original question as to whether the American quilt magazine, Quilter's Newsletter, ever sent their received quilts to Japan or not, I'm afraid I don't know. (But maybe a reference is hidden back in one of the updates...) I have a feeling that many of those 8,566 quilts were from overseas because most Japanese quilters do not do machine piecing and machine quilting so it takes awhile longer to get a quilt to completion. It may very well be that many of those quilts were sent through Quilter's Newsletter.
I donated two quilts myself. But somewhere along the line I decided that if I make quilts and give them ANYWHERE, that God will see that the quilts get into the hands that need them most. I may have meant a quilt to go to so-and-so but God may have detoured that quilt elsewhere. Someone, somewhere needed that quilt. And I also think that a drop of good ANYWHERE in the ocean will send ripples of good to other places in the world. After my first two quilts I'm trusting that God will send quilts through other people and now my donation quilts are going to a local hospital.
God HAS comforted many people (8,300 to date!) with the quilts that quilters from all over the world have made. I am trusting that my quilts were two of those.
(all pictures were downloaded from the Quilt Patchwork Tsushin website... Facebook)