By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Instead of donating money or items that have been bought, local middle school students created something of their own to donate and be used in the area.
Students at West Fairmont Middle School worked for over two weeks sewing quilts together to donate to the American Red Cross (ARC).
Diana George, with the North Central West Virginia ARC, said having items donated that were created means a lot. She said the quilts will be used to help people in the North Central West Virginia area.
“The smallest gesture is worth the greatest intentions,” George said. “This is a gesture of that.”
When George heard that the class wanted to donate to them, she was surprised. She said that what a lot of people don’t know is on a local basis one of the biggest things the ARC does in this community is when a family loses their home to a fire, ARC is on scene to give them necessary items.
“We’re first ones on scene to give them a blanket or quilt and a lot of personal-care items,” George said.
Louise Donato’s eighth-grade BASE classes created two quilts to donate and also picked where they were going to donate them to. She said it was to take part in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Day to Serve Project.
“They had to come up with an idea of where to donate them to,” she said. “They had to plead their case. We held an election, and they voted to donate them to Red Cross.”
The quilts were given to George by students who helped create them at an awards ceremony Thursday. Donato said about 80 students helped in creating the two quilts.
“I only have 11 sewing machines,” Donato said. “So they paired up and worked in pairs.”
Each pair made a square that was then sewn together with other pairs’ squares until finally a quilt was made.
“We started joining the squares together and then sewing the rows together and it became a quilt,” Donato said.
Donato said her students felt good about creating something of their own and then donating it to a good cause.
“For some of them this is the first time they have been involved in anything like this,” she said. “They can see that their efforts are actually going toward something that they wanted.”
George said this particular chapter of the ARC covers seven counties. She said a lot of donations to this chapter come from local residents.
“Sometimes they are afghans that people have made,” George said. “It’s a small gesture, but when you’ve lost everything, it means the world.”
Also on Thursday, Donato’s seventh-grade classes gave cards to the 201st Field Artillery Regiment of the National Guard as their Day to Serve project.
“They made cards for the military and practiced their hand-stitching skills,” she said.
The class presented the cards during their awards ceremony Thursday morning. Donato said the cards expressed thanks to those who have served or are serving in the military.
“The basic message was thank you for your service,” she said.
Email Emily Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.