Volunteers and families gathered, socially distant, at the end of October to disperse quilts to survivors of the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire. 

The Quilt Drive, formed by members of the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association (PVQA), came together in a little less than a month, creating and gathering more than 400 quilts for families that have lost their homes in the fires.

Quilts are piled high in the Live Oak Grange, across tables, in bags, bins and in arms. Vibrant colors, soft fabrics and loving stitches came from the PVQA, Gilroy Nimble Thimbles, Campbell Fabric Stores, East Bay quilt clubs, alongside many other sources. Organizer Lori Camner said she was amazed at the postmark on many packages full of quilts.

“We put a small ad on the American Quilt Study and all the sudden we’re accepting quilts from Indiana, Texas, Iowa, and Nebraska,” Camner said.

The outpouring of quilts shouldn’t have been “shocking,” as Camner said.

The PVQA has “done the same for Paradise survivors, the Tsunami in Japan, and other tragic events,” she said.  

“I should’ve predicted this support, it’s what quilters do, that’s the power of fabric,” she said. “As quilters and fabric hounds, we go through the donations and are amazed by the beauty and amount.” 

The Drive served 15 families, each with about 3-4 people, on Oct. 30 and another seven families the following day.

Camner hopes to give out “at least 110 quilts today.”

Organizers will host another drive this November and December, with plans to continue the drive over the next year.

“People come in with really horrible, hard-luck stories,” Camner said. “Many are moving or still dislocated, because they’ve lost their house and are struggling to find a place to live. There were so many housing complications in Santa Cruz before the fires, which are even worse for these survivors.”

To donate or sign up to receive quilts, email czulightningfirequilts@gmail.com.

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