What a year it’s been for quilters, sewists and other makers. History has shown us that the community of quilters has the ability to do amazing things through challenging times, and 2020 has certainly had its challenges! The COVID-19 pandemic took us all by surprise early in the year, but the response from the quilting community has been overwhelming.
In late March the PPE shortage at hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities quickly became evident and health care providers all over the country asked for help in providing barrier methods through facial coverings. Almost immediately, we had customers reach out asking for easy cutting solutions to answer the call and provide the much needed preventative measures to protect people from the virus sweeping across the world.
And much like the amazing quilters and sewists jumped into action, AccuQuilt did the same. One late Sunday afternoon, we received an email from a local group preparing to make N95 mask covers for the Methodist Hospital System in Omaha, Nebraska. Within just 4 hours, the grassroots group Nebraska Masks for Medicine was born, and we were privileged to be a part of the movement! By the following Tuesday morning, we delivered two cutters and four dies to the local quilt shop, Celtic Quilter (owned by our beloved former AccuQuilt employee, Judy Fletcher). They were able to work with the group to create an assembly line process for cutting the fabric and deliver kits to volunteer sewists. By August, this group had made over 140,000 masks that were distributed to local organizations in need – and were praised by a Nebraska House Representative on the Congressional floor!
Watching their amazing drive and tenacity at organizing this effort quickly showed the product development team at AccuQuilt the need in the sewing community for a product that made mask-cutting easier. Within a few short weeks, we were able to design and produce 7 variations of the mask dies that were being most requested by our customers. And the demand was so high that the leadership team at AccuQuilt immediately decided that we were going to “do good by doing well” with mask die sales. The decision was made that between April and August 31, 2020, $10 from every mask die sold would be earmarked for donation to the nonprofit, No Kid Hungry.
No Kid Hungry was launched in 2010 and is a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, 1 in 4 kids could face hunger this year. Millions of children rely on school for food, and school meals are sometimes the only food a child might receive in a day. With many classrooms closed across the country, schools and local nonprofits have struggled to reach kids in need. No Kid Hungry has worked with schools and community groups across all 50 states to provide hands-on guidance and serve as many as 10.8 million meals a day during the crisis.
The team at AccuQuilt has been blown away by the customer response and thrilled that we were able to hit our fundraising goal of $100,000. Without our unbelievable quilters and sewists, we could not have made an impact to help children in need across the country, and we are humbled by the strength of our community. Thank you for all your help, and we look forward to sharing more charity initiatives in the future.