Every Thursday at 10 a.m., they file into the Quilt Room located in the basement of the former Peace School at the Adams Campus in Saginaw. They work for two hours. They talk. They laugh. They stitch and cut.
They make a difference.
It all started in the early 2000s when Michelle (Schlaefke) Klein and Pam Price gathered a group of women to form the Piece by Peace Quilt Club at Peace Lutheran Church in Saginaw. One of their first projects resulted in more than 40 quilts for an orphanage in Jamaica.
Sadly, Michelle has since passed, and Pam now lives in Davison. But the Quilt Club lives on.
On a recent Thursday morning, Pam was in attendance. While her small church in Davison also has a quilt club, she still joins the Peace women to work on quilts about every six weeks, she said, when she’s in Saginaw to have her dog groomed.
On this particular day, seven women are working in the Quilt Room. Half a dozen is the average attendance. Peace member Mary Rivett is trying it out for the first time.
Mary recently retired from Wellspring Hospice.
“I needed something new to serve the Lord,” she says of trying out the Piece by Peace Quilt Club. “I’m in an Amigo (for mobility assistance), so I’m limited in what I can do. But I can do this.”
Mary usually crochets, not sew. So on this day, the club has her stuffing pillows that will be donated to the Bethesda Thrift Store.
The club has lots of tasks that don’t require sewing skills. Peace member Jo-Ann Gatz joined the Quilt Club when she retired in 2011.
“I never had a sewing background,” she says. “I’m just tying knots to hold the material together.”
“We come in and enjoy everybody’s company. And sometimes, we go to lunch!”
“I like it too,” Mary answers. “I’m home alone enough. I can help out doing this for two hours a week. And it’s not emotional” (referencing her previous hospice job).
Peace member Margaret Brieske joined the Quilt Club when she retired in 2017.
“I’ve sewn most of my life. I made a quilt 30 years ago and donated it to LWML. I always thought, ‘Someday when I retire, I’ll join.’ And I did,” Margaret says. “I like that we’re donating the quilts and helping other people.”
The fact it helps others is what drew Peace member Joann Paluck to the club in 2005, not long after it formed. Joann leads the Piece by Peace club with Betty Hubinger, who attends another church.
Joann Paluck’s favorite project is the club’s yearly donation to Lutheran World Relief, which assists people in third-world countries. Quilts are also given locally to the Old Town Baby Pantry in Saginaw. Most recently six quilts were given to the pantry at the end of 2018.
When Peace Pastor Matthew Hauser’s own daughter, Miriam, was hospitalized right after birth with a heart defect, the Peace Quilt Club made a quilt for her and for others at Mott Children’s Hospital. Quilts are also given to Habitat for Humanity, and to Peace church members in need, as well as seniors in nursing homes and shut-ins.
The Piece by Peace Quilt Club meets year-round every Thursday from 10 a.m.-noon.
They say they need just a few more hands.
“This year’s goal for Lutheran World Relief is 30 quilts,” club co-leader Betty Hubinger says on this recent Thursday morning.
“Oh, you’re really being optimistic,” Joann Paluck replies with a laugh.
“Then keep sewing!” Betty yells back across the Quilt Room.
For more information about the Piece by Peace Quilt Club, contact Joann Paluck.
Photos courtesy of Peace, Saginaw