Wrap Them in Love Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt organization created to help needy children of the world.
Our Mission is to collect donated quilts and distribute them to children around the world so, they can be wrapped in the love of a quilt.
As we all know, a quilt is a very special thing.
It isn't just a blanket. It has been lovingly created by a real person.
A quilter leaves a part of themselves in every quilt they make.
The child who receives that quilt will be able to snuggle up in all the love that comes in a quilt.
In August,2002, I planned a trip to drive to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to deliver quilts to the children there. I have a large van, so I decided that since I was going to make the long trip, I may as well have a full van, so I let others know that I could take other donations that they might have. As the time to leave for the trip came closer, the donations started coming in faster. Soon I knew that my van could never hold all of the things that were piling up in the back of my store. So, I borrowed a large pickup truck with a canopy to take along with the van. That was still not going to do it. We tried desparately to find a trailer to borrow, but couldn't, so at the last minute, we ended up renting a large u-haul trailer to pull with the truck!
We spent hours and hours sorting through bags and boxes of donations, washing, folding, packing. Teens from the Arlington United Church spent one day here sorting through boxes of clothes and packing them for us. Many people helped out with some dollars to help to pay for our gas for the trip---in fact, we are still paying those gas bills! The Downtown Merchants in Arlington even helped us out.
Without any extra space, we were finally ready to hit the road at 1:33am on August 19th. We had packed 215 Wrap Them in Love quilts, 168 boxes of clothing of all sizes, diapers, some soap and toothpaste (toothpaste donated by area dentists!) two cribs, a youth bed, 6 strollers, 6 car seats, a baby swing, and whatever else we managed to squeeze into the vehicles. In the van was my daughter, Katie and myself and in the truck was another daughter, Kacee, and her friend Stephen. After stopping to top off the gas tanks, we were finally on the road, with Steve and Kacee in the lead. 17 minutes later, we were stopped at a rest stop to check on the trailer's mysterious blinking and fading lights. After a few minutes of fiddling with the connections, we were back on the road again!
We had a set of walkie-talkie's so that we could talk to each other while we were driving. Those really came in handy to keep each other alert and also to decide where and when to stop for gas and breaks.
We drove 13 hours to Helena, Montana and stopped to visit relatives there. They provided us with a chance to sit and relax, a terrific dinner, the use of their shower and beds where we caught a few hours of sleep before getting up at 1:00am and quietly "saddling up and hitting the trail" again. We tried not to wake anyone when we left since we knew that they all had to get up and go to work, but I'm sure that the dogs barking good-bye to us were heard by all!
While I drove, Katie wrote notes about the trip. Here is a little glimpse of what she wrote:
"3:01am We've stopped at a gas station in Montana that claims to be 'the cleanest gas station in Montana'. Unfortunately, there is no coffee--Mom's
life-blood on this trip, and we forgot a thermos. We also need water for the truck and there is no water here, at least that we can see.
3:09am Now we've found another gas station - still looking for water. We're also filling up our jug for later use. We just noticed that we have Belle's Rock! Belle (Erik's chocolate lab in Helena where we stopped) put a rock on the step of the van. Apparently it never fell off. We put it in the van for safe keeping.
4:38am COFFEE!!!! We finally found a place that was open!!
and then 12 hours later
4:31pm We're on 18, looking for our right turn. Stopped at Texaco to empty out the cool yellow cooler we borrowed from Auntie.
Appparently the section that holds the ice doesn't hold water (go figure)! So, we had to clean up the little mess."
Of course, there was a lot more writing (when Katie was awake) besides that, but I don't want all of you to fall asleep too! After 29 hours of driving time, we finally reached Pine Ridge!
Pine Ridge is in the poorest county in the entire USA. The situation there is absolutely devastating.
There are 40,000 people on the Pine Ridge reservation----located in a desolate part of the coutry
that everyone just puts out of their mind and forgets about. The unemployment rate there is 90%!
That's right, it is NINETY percent!
Many houses have no electricity. And in a place where the temperatures in summer are over 100 degrees, and way below freezing in the winter, that can be a real problem. Some of the tiny houses don't even have water or plumbing, and some of those little house have 15 to 30 people living in them. Those who do have a house will take in others who have no place to live. There is such a housing shortage there.
Think about bathing your baby in the water taken from the tank of the toilet because that is the only water that there is available. Because of the lack of food and poor diet, the disease rate is much higher than the rest of the country. Diabetes is EIGHT times higher than the rest of the country----heart disease is 3 to 4 times higher. The life expectancy for a male there is only 56 years old. That is 20 YEARS lower that the rest of the USA. And BABIES die there 2 1/2 times more than babies in the rest of the USA.