Bright Hopes

Since its inception in 1989, the purpose of the Bright Hopes Project has been, and continues to be, providing for the making and/or collecting of small comforters (the size of most comforters is usually “width of cloth” by 1 yard [approximately 44”/45” width by 36” length] or larger) for distribution through civic organizations, such as The Children’s Shelter
( http://www.chshel.org/ ), to infants and young children in crisis and at risk.

Although there was never an official goal set by the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild (GSAQG) for the number of comforters we would provide, over the years (almost since the inception of the Project in 1989) an average of 40 Bright Hopes comforters per month (480 comforters per year) has been maintained by one or more Bright Hopes Committees. In recent years guild members have also begun to make small tote bags which are also given to the children to store their belongings in.

So how did the Bright Hopes Project come to be?

 From GSAQG historical records:

Bright Hopes became a project for members of the Greater San Antonio Area Quilt Guild (GSAQG) in late summer of 1989 and it all began with guild member Laura Dickerson.

In an article from the San Antonio Express News in 1989, staff writer Edna McGaffey wrote “the idea for Bright Hopes came from a newsletter describing a California group that made comforters for police cars. Police use them to wrap accident victims, especially children. Laura Dickerson contacted several agencies and then with members of her committee developed the project.”

In Laura Dickerson’s own words from her 1990 annual report to the guild, “In August of 1989 Bright Hopes Project was a seed of hope only. In September at Quilt-In it sprouted with the enthusiasm of GSAQG members.”

GSAQG historical records also show that The Children’s Shelter, which has served the San Antonio area since 1901 as a temporary home for infants and young children in crisis and at risk, was selected as the initial recipient (and it continues to be the recipient) for the comforters. A visit in January 2007 with Kathryn Holliman, the then Vice-President of Community Relations for The Children’s Shelter, garnered information which only served to confirm that a pressing need does exist for the Bright Hopes Project and other projects like it. According to Ms. Holliman:

“The Children’s Shelter tries to present every young child passing through any aspect of sheltering and/or other programs which they operate with a comforter and as such can actually use every comforter that the quilt guild is able to give them.”

An average of 150 children per month, approximately 70% of whom are 5 years of age or younger, pass
through shelters and/or related programs (including a foster care program with 250 children) operated by the Children’s Shelter. There are currently three shelters -- the Cedar St. and Woodlawn St. shelters, which normally have a capacity of 52 children each and the KCI residential treatment center (RTC) which has a capacity for 36 children (KCI is for children between 5 and 14 years of age who have more severe emotional problems and need more long term assistance). The facilities are almost always full with the average stay being between 30 and 90 days while court and case management issues are worked through. A child who needs to stay in the system beyond 90 days is placed with foster care.

How many ways do members of the guild help with the Bright Hopes Project you may ask?

Guild members help in all facets of the Bright Hopes Project: from donating their time, their own fabrics and other supplies to make comforters; to helping assemble comforter kits from fabrics and supplies donated to (or purchased by) the Guild; to completing comforters from those kits and turning them in for delivery to the Children’s Shelter; to helping as a committee member with the project in general. The Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild continues to provide quilts through individual member participation and bees associated with the guild. Considering the number of children in the community touched by the shelter, guild members are to be commended for their continuous efforts to provide 40 quilts per month to those children.

If you would like more information on how you can help, please contact the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild ( P.O. Box 380522
San Antonio, TX. 78268 ).

 

Quilt made by guild members and donated by the GSAQG to the San Antonio Children’s Shelter for their
2005 “Give a Piece of Your Heart” annual fundraising affair.

Quilt made by guild members and donated by the GSAQG to the San Antonio Children’s Shelter for their
2006 “Give a Piece of Your Heart” annual fundraising affair.

Quilt made by guild members and donated by the GSAQG to the San Antonio Children’s Shelter for their
2003 “Give a Piece of Your Heart” annual fundraising affair.

Quilt made by guild members and donated by the GSAQG to the San Antonio Children’s Shelter for their
2004 “Give a Piece of Your Heart” annual fundraising affair.


 

How to make items for Bright Hopes

Directions for Quilts

Directions for Totebags