Members of Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild presented 100 baby quilts to Holly Crawford of Haywood and Jackson County’s Head Start programs Monday, Aug. 12. Mary Krishnamurty, head of the Baby Quilt Bee, announced that members have made around 368 baby quilts so far this year. Many guild members live in Jackson County, and the guild's board agreed that the group's outreach programs should expand to include that region.
Crawford told guild members how much the children love having quilts and soft blankets to sleep with while they are in the Head Start facilities. Jackson and Haywood County Head Start facilities currently assist 220 children in their programs. These programs not only take care of children ages birth to five years of age, but also focus on getting them ready to go to school. She related how sometimes the facility provides the most stability and security in a child's life. “Sometimes these children don't know where they are going after they leave the (Head Start) building.”
The remainder of the baby quilts will go to the Macon County Head Start and Angel Hospital. For each quilt they receive, Head Start can apply for federally matching funds, which works out to about $40 per quilt. This year alone, Head Start in Jackson and Haywood Counties lost $128,000 in federal funding and $35,000 in state funding.
“All of our programs maintain a five-star state accreditation. The matching funds will be very welcome,” said Crawford.
The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild has already broken the record for completed baby quilts this year. Krishnamurty is considering challenging the guild members to complete 500 baby quilts by the end of 2013. She said, “This number has never been imagined before, but I know that the members of this guild can do it.”