The Love Quilt Project based in the USA wanted to do some good in South Africa, so they made 2000 fabric masks for children in need.
Cape Town, South Africa (04 December 2020) – In April this year, the Love Quilt Project based in Arlington, Virginia, USA, started making masks for numerous organisations in South Africa including our children at Home from Home. They usually make handmade quilts for distribution but realised the need to keep children and their caregivers safe. Masks were an obvious way to assist.
Love Quilt Project was established by Gretchen Ginnerty after visiting children in townships across South Africa, in 2011, while on holiday. She realised that vulnerable children need emotional support to rise out of poverty, but they also need educational opportunities in order to prosper into functioning and contributing adults in society. She became focussed on raising funds for school fees and enlisted many people to help realise this mission, including actor, Patrick Wilson and his wife, Dagmar Dominczyk.
The organisation builds relationships with American schoolchildren and creates messages of love through beautiful handmade quilts to be distributed to children in South Africa’s hardest-hit communities.
“The challenge began” explains Gretchen. “How were we going to get the large parcel to South Africa during a pandemic with heavy travel restrictions. Borders were closed and flights were scarce. The beautiful masks were completed in batches during May and June and so the mission to get them to South Africa began in earnest!” she says.
“After a handover involving at least five volunteers, we eventually received the parcel in mid- November” explains Peter Marx, the Executive Director at Home from Home Non-Profit Organisation. “ The dedication and determination to get these masks to us 14 000 km away was incredible,” he says smiling.
The first 100 masks arrived on a repatriation flight in May from Washington DC.
The next 400 masks arrived on another repatriation flight via an SAA Pilot who was eager to help.
The final 1500 masks arrived on a Turkish Airlines cargo flight with the assistance of courier company, DelEx. The long journey started at JFK airport and then onwards via Turkey to Johannesburg. However, the masks still needed to get to Cape Town.
“It meant a kind favour from a naval officer who was travelling from Pretoria to Langebaan and then another favour from his mother-in-law who took the parcel to Blouberg Strand where I collected the 25 kg parcel! It felt like the miracle of the well-travelled parcel” Peter Marx says with delight.
The large package contained vacuum-sealed bags for each child, foster mother, assistant and support staff member. Each personal parcel contained 5 beautifully sewn masks in wonderful fabric. Enormous care had been taken to produce, package and transport these masks all the way across the seas to Cape Town.
A parcel of love so unusual and refreshing in these modern times.