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News: 12/01/2017

Quilts for fire refugees



family wearing quilts
The Koenig family, who lost their home at the Bouverie Preserve, collected their quilts at the firehouse on Monday, Nov. 27. From left, Toby, Jennifer and Kai (age 4) Koenig. Justin (age 6) is hiding behind Jennifer. Photo by Jay Gamel

“Happiness is a Warm Quilt” is the response by a host of quilters from across the country to the northern California wildfires. Locally, they have been organized by Laura Lee Fritz-Paul of Sonoma and Meredith Hart Johnson, a Santa Rosa native and lifelong quilter.

“It’s what we do,” Johnson said Nov. 27 at Kenwood Firehouse where the group was giving away quilts to people who lost everything in the disastrous wildfires that decimated more than 5,000 homes in Sonoma County alone. Johnson said 13 members of Santa Rosa’s Quilting Guild lost their homes.

Fritz-Paul had a booth at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara from Oct. 11 through 14, in the middle of the firestorm. “The fire got everybody’s attention – it wasn’t abstract.” Many exhibitors shared in the donations.

“Quilters are always making quilts and then figuring out what to do with them,” Fritz-Paul said.

Johnson and Fritz-Paul quickly hatched a plan to distribute quilts, with Johnson putting together a Facebook page and coordinating collection and distribution.

Quilts will also be distributed at Chateau St. Jean on Dec. 2 from 4 to 5 p.m. The winery is hosting a benefit for the Kenwood Education Foundation from 4 to 6 p.m.

Anyone wanting to make a direct request for a quilt should contact Mary Chelton at Warmquilts17@gmail.com.



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