by Holly Wintrip, Middle School Faculty
LOVE… what does this mean to you? For many, it means a hug, acts of kindness, words of praise, and shared experiences. Acts of love are often inspired by personal experiences. Since 2012, Canterbury students have shown love to orphaned children in South Africa by participating in The Love Quilt Project.
The Love Quilt Project was founded in 2011 by Gretchen Ginnerty who was inspired to reach out to orphaned children in South Africa following a mission trip with St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia. Mrs. Ginnerty “could not let go of the images of the children who so desperately need our love and support.” Upon returning home, her idea of making quilts of love began to take root.
Children from all around the United States now participate in the project by decorating quilt squares with messages of love. These are then sewn into the quilts using the log cabin pattern. This pattern pays homage to the importance of home and life by using light and dark stripes with the light side relating to happiness and the dark side to sorrow. The quilts are hand delivered by Mrs. Ginnerty and a team of volunteers to children who have been orphaned, often as a result of the HIV/AIDS virus. These children, in return, make quilt squares for children in the United States who have also been impacted by this disease.
Canterbury’s mission statement reflects on the importance of preparing each child to live “an honorable life as a responsible steward of our world.” The Love Quilt Project teaches our children about global outreach, the effects of worldwide diseases, and how one simple thing such as a quilt square can have a significant impact on another child’s life.
Over the past 6 years, children in all grades have made a quilt square, learned about the project and South Africa, and participated in a special presentation given by Gretchen Ginnerty. The current fifth and sixth graders recently completed their squares, which will be sewn into quilts and delivered during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The Love Quilt Project has impacted our students in the following ways:
“Love means a family, comfort, happiness, and a home to me. The love quilt expresses comfort with a nice quilted blanket that the children can wrap themselves in and feel warm.” -Maggie M.
“The most memorable thing that I learned was that those love quilts don't just go to one group, they go to each individual. This project made me feel elated just knowing that these kids would get a quilt with kind words and pictures filled with love and heartwarming pictures. “ - Carly H.
“Love means to me that I am never alone and there will always be people who care for me. I think it can be expressed by doing something great and what that person will love and cherish the most.” -Alanis J.
“I learned how fortunate I was to be able to have parents and live safely.” -Morgen T.
“Love isn't a physical thing yet you can give it to someone, it's that warm feeling you get when something kind is done to you. It can be expressed through something physical like a gift or it can just be by saying something kind.” -Jackson F.
“To me, love is something that makes someone feel like they're not alone and that they have a connection” -Francesca U.
“I learned that it is helping people you don't know is as good or better than helping people you do know. It made me feel good that I was helping others get through a hard time in their lives by making a positive quote, or drawing.” -Quinn M.
Canterbury students have lived out the dream that Mrs. Ginnerty set forth to achieve. She believes “this connection can actually help children to understand how much more alike they are than not and how all the peripheral things that help define who we are do not change the fact that we all are human beings that deserve to be loved.” So LOVE in all of its messiness and glory continues to be the thread that binds us all together.
Please visit www.lovequilt.org for more information on how you can help share the LOVE.