Sewing machines were going full speed at the annual quilt-a-thon in Wellsburg. Debbie Poland started it 13 years ago. All the quilts go to Cedar Valley Hospice.
"I started it after my dad passed away, and he used hospice. I was going to make him a quilt, and I decided there might be other people who'd like to make quilts as well," Debbie Poland said.
Most of the quilts made in Wellsburg go to the Grundy Center branch of Cedar Valley Hospice.
"It's our desire that every patient get a quilt and one that's of interest to them," Chris Olds with Cedar Valley Hospice said.
"There's something about a quilt just being comforting. Sometimes the patient doesn't get it for very long, but the family keeps it," Poland said.
Poland the other volunteers work all year getting the quilts started, then finish them up at the two-day retreat.
The first year, Debbie and her volunteers made 52 quilts. Typically, about 100 quilts are made. But this year is a little different, a total of 350 quilts!
Why? It's Debbie Poland's last year as the organizer.
"This is it for me. That's why this year is so special because I found we have more than 300 quilt tops we have to finish," Poland said.
Most people want the quilt-a-thon to continue. The hope is for several women to take over, including long-time volunteer Darlene Koobs.
"Several of my friends have used hospice, and I think it's just a wonderful thing to be doing and I know people who receive a quilt, cherish it," Darlene Koobs said.
Through the years, more than one thousand hospice patients have gotten a quilt from the Wellsburg retreat.
"It's very special to have that tangible item that brings them comfort," said Chris Olds with Cedar Valley Hospice.
Debbie Poland's love of sewing from her grandmother helped start this quilt-a-thon, and hopefully the love these other volunteers have for this project keeps it going after Debbie steps down.