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Handmade Quilts Help Comfort Kids

The Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Guild celebrated a big milestone this week.  Its subgroup, Community Quilts, which makes quilts for area non-profit organizations, has been busy working to make difficult situations easier for children.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

Two days a month, a group of quilters gathers in a space at Springfield’s Village Shopping Center, to create colorful blankets to help those who are hurting in the community.

Some of those creations are given to police officers to hand out to kids during crisis situations.  Karen Stanley, co-chair of Community Quilts, said they began making the quilts to keep in squad cars after fellow co-chair Connie Bradford stepped outside one Sunday for a smoke.

"She was outside here and literally flagged down a squad car and said, 'hey, I have an idea.  Would you guys like quilts in the car for children in traumatic situations?'  And he said, 'sure.'  He was very receptive to it," she said.

Bradford is a former reserve firefighter in Nixa, and she’s seen kids deal with some very difficult things.  She said the quilts give children comfort in stressful situations.

"If they can have a quilt that's been provided by the police department to hang onto something or if they've got some tears or they need to hide their face then they can do that.  If a child is being pulled out by  DFS, sometimes they don't even have clothes on.  They can be wrapped up in this blanket and have comfort wrapped around them," she said.

Springfield Police Officer Chris Laughlin calls the quilts security blankets for kids.

"I like to think that some of this could be transposed, I guess, from the love they put into this," he said.

Even after learning the SPD has 60 squad cars, the Community Quilts group was unfazed.  Their initial goal was two quilts per squad car--this week they celebrated reaching that milestone.  And the group isn’t stopping there.  Members will continue making quilts, not only for the police department to hand out, but also for other area nonprofits.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.