For Amanda Bruesch, it is the best of both worlds — combining a hobby with a way to help other people.
A member of the Boise Basin Quilters Guild, Bruesch is one among approximately 200 quilting enthusiasts who not only quilt for themselves, but also to give as gifts or as donations.
Recently, the nonprofit group organized a delivery of 63 quilts to give to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. Bruesch, a business intelligence analyst at St. Luke’s, brought them, along with her youngest son, Rowan.
“It’s a pretty great opportunity to give back using your skills and doing something you enjoy … I think everyone in the guild loves giving back, and it feels even better when you know it’s for a good cause,” Bruesch said.
The donated quilts will be primarily used at St. Luke’s Children’s, but also will be sent out to other St. Luke’s locations in the Treasure Valley for babies, kids and teens.“We love being able to offer quilts to our children in pediatrics and in our PICU unit,” said Sherry Iverson, St. Luke’s Children’s director of patient and family support services. “We also use them in NICUs to cover the cribs to provide a warm and dark environment for growing babies. We can use all sizes of quilts and all colors and designs from babies to our teen patients.”
Bruesch has been quilting for about 20 years and joined Boise Basin Quilters Guild last year. She was aware of how even something as seemingly simple as a blanket can be important — her eldest son spent two months in the NICU and she remembers “seeing these beautiful blankets draped around the isolettes to keep them dark so the babies can grow.”
As the chair of the guild’s “Quilts For Kids” committee, Bruesch also oversaw quilts distributed to Valor Health in Emmett and the Ronald McDonald House. Some also will be used to give to kids in foster care or those who don’t have a stable home. The committee also has made blankets for chemotherapy patients and palliative care.
The Boise Basin Quilters Guild also has another committee, which focuses on special projects, and has helped St. Luke’s by making pillows for seatbelts that make it more comfortable for patients with ports to drive, caps for chemotherapy patients and pockets to hold tubes for mastectomy patients.
“It seems crazy to take a whole piece of fabric, cut it up into little pieces and sew it back together in a different arrangement, but it feels like a way to do something I love … but is always a great giving opportunity,” Bruesch said. “There’s a lot of love put into it.”
Bruesch hopes to put together 100 more quilts by the end of the year to make another donation to St. Luke’s. She likely will have had a hand in putting all of them together, as she will cut the fabric and assemble the kits for guild members to quilt if they have the time.
Even for an experienced quilter, it can take an afternoon to put together a 3-by-3-foot baby quilt.“It’s amazing to think of all the work people in the guild have put in this year to get that first delivery out … I’m so appreciative, and I know it’s for a great cause,” Bruesch said.
Dave Southorn works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.