Wrapped In Love

By Sylvia Boomsma

How would you comfort a frightened child facing the prospect of surgery? There's nothing like a warm, colorful quilt to express love, caring and comfort. That's why SRW mission teams give quilts and plush toys to young patients in other countries. For many of these children, it's the first time they've had a belonging of their very own.

SRW has been blessed by a Quilt Hero. Ron MacDonald has supplied hundreds of quilts for mission teams over the years. He has made at least 200 per year in the last two years alone. Ron, a retired schoolteacher, heard about SRW when his partner Jerry Gantner served as a volunteer in the SRW warehouse. Sewing quilts was the perfect way for Ron to contribute. He had been sewing since the summer of 1949, when he was 12 and his grandmother let him use her sewing machine. He discovered a natural gift and was soon sewing vestments for use in his Catholic church. He made his first quilt, for his godson, in 1976. He found quilt-making enjoyable and relaxing, and began making quilts for mission organizations. The rest is history -- a history of 600-700 quilts which are comforting and warming recipients all over Wisconsin and, in fact, the world.

Ron, who lives in a retirement community in Wauwatosa, works at his sewing machine for two or three hours most days. Though he sometimes buys fabric at bargain prices, most of the materials are donated. Ron also purchases and collects plush toys, so that every quilt he donates can be accompanied by a stuffed animal.

Ron finds this project very rewarding, especially when he sees photos of young patients wrapped in his quilts, with big smiles on their faces. He is motivated by his love for people, and he imagines a day when God will ask him how he used the sewing talent he was given. He knows he's making a difference in the lives of others, and he looks forward to hearing, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Do you have plush toys or fabric you no longer need? Extra twin- and full-size sheets and blankets in good shape? Contact Mary at SRW to see how you can donate them for Ron's quilts.

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