Margaret Jackson has knitted sweaters, toques, and scarves for her four daughters, her five grandchildren, and her 10 great grandchildren – many times over.
Now, the 90-year-old great grandmother is creating winter woolies for the homeless and more recently taken up sewing quilts for newborn babies in Langley.
“I like helping charities,” said Jackson, a resident of Harrison Landing for the past five years.
Quilting, she admits, is a new pastime. While she’s sewn and knitted most of her life, she took up the quilting about three years ago, after the passing of her husband.
She was drawn to it as more of a social outlet, noting a handful of women in the independent seniors living facility get together once a week in a fourth-floor studio to create and visit.
With help and direction from two members of the Langley Quilters Guild, the residents recently completed 10 quilts that were donated to the Best Babies of the Langley’s program.
The quilts will, in turn, be gifted to new babies born to participants in the pregnancy outreach program offered by Encompass Support Services.
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“These quilts have become a staple in our program,” said Liliana Ornelas, a senior worker with Best Babies.
The program, which has been operating for more than 20 years – first under the umbrella of Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services and in more recent years with Encompass, provides group and one-on-one services for expectant mothers and moms with babies 12 months and younger.
The quilts, Ornelas explained, primarily go in gift bags gifted to the new mothers, once their babies arrive.
A few others are used on the floor during group sessions where infants must lay on the ground. And a few are held back and raffled off during social events held for the mothers.
“I would say the moms in our program feel incredibly grateful to receive this donation. They’re really appreciative, especially knowing how much time and love goes into making each one of them,” Ornelas said, admitting she never learned to sew or quilt – although she admires the artistry involved.
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“I know the mothers really love them.”
Hearing such thanks, and knowing she’s helping, makes Jackson – as well as the other quilters at Harrison Landing – happy, and anxious to do more. In fact, there are a few more quilts already in the works, and the residents are excited, said recreation manager Leah Bradley.