When disaster strikes, the people responding aren’t always well versed on how to handle everything. Many of the civilians involved are just trying to do whatever they can to help their community feel safe. When a new volunteer, someone who hasn’t had experience with disaster, first comes to assist, they can feel overwhelmed. When Wallace Haws came to Northern California, he was visiting with one of HCRN’s board members. He was taken to Paradise to see what disaster looks like when it’s fresh, and he came to Middletown to see what long term recovery can do for a community. It was put on his heart to start a quilting ministry for those in Paradise. We took some time to talk to him about Quilts for Paradise:
How did you get involved? My wife and I were listening to the news along with my mother. When Paradise fires came on we were immediately drawn. My mother said, “Let’s do something.” I said, “Let’s make quilts.” During the Christmas holidays we made eight quilts with the help of family. Just before this time we had become acquainted with Mark Cox, [an HCRN Board Member], who lives in our neighborhood and had told us some of what HCRN does. He invited my nephew and me to go with him to Paradise. In February 2019, we visited several communities and several projects being constructed by HCRN. We gave the quilts to Pastor Josh at the Alliance Baptist church in Paradise who was very grateful. We sifted through ashes in Paradise and worked on tile in a bathroom in Middletown. We were very touched.
Was the quilting part of an existing ministry with your church? “Quilts for Paradise” is grass-roots and is not connected with any church. It is just something we feel inspired to do. However, we are connecting with people of different faiths who want to help. We are trying to make it a “Community” thing where friends/neighbors are doing something good for humanity out of the goodness of their own heart.
What are you hoping to accomplish with Quilts for Paradise? Make 240 quilts and raise $240,000 for HCRN over 5 years and take a group to help with construction at least 1 time per year.
What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know about Paradise and the recipients of these quilts? We like the reports on the HCRN web site. My nephew and I worked a few hours on the Thibodeau home. It is important to me to report to my “Quilts for Paradise” folks every month on what is happening. It helps keep interest alive.
We’d like to thank Wallace so much for his commitment to helping comfort the community of Paradise and it’s surrounding areas. If you would like to donate to Quilts for Paradise, follow this link and use the drop down menu to select Quilts for Paradise. If you’d like to join in volunteering and working in these communities, you can contact Travis Cox at [email protected] or give him a call at 574-333-7728.