New Brunswick

Village of Alma blankets the community with colour

The village of Alma came up with a unique way to cheer people up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brightly coloured quilts were displayed around the community.

Community hangs quilts and blankets to raise spirits during COVID-19 pandemic

Quilts of all shapes and sizes were displayed in the village of Alma Wednesday for the "Blanket Our Community with Colour" event. (Pierre Fourier/CBC News )

At Jane Chrysostom's bed and breakfast in the heart of the village of Alma, three vintage quilts blow gently in the breeze in the front yard.

The sunlight catches the rich colours.

"We need colour at this time of year. The flowers haven't quite bloomed yet and we need something bright and cheerful." she said.

But that's not the only reason the quilts are hung for all to see.

Jane Chrysostom hopes the colourful quilts cheer people up during the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

It's part of a community initiative called "Blanket Our Community with Colour".

The idea is to hang quilts and blankets on clotheslines, fences and decks to spread some cheer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People in the village can walk or drive around and take in the display.

The village of Alma lights it up old school to raise residents’ spirits during the outbreak - urging folks, “if you’ve got quilts - show ‘em!” 1:10

Chrysostom says since many people are at home together, it's a good time to open trunks and peer into family history.

"You lift that lid to the trunk where these quilts are and bring them out and you have smells that you smell from old time and it brings back the time of maybe having pieced these pieces of quilting together with your family." she said.

Quilts of all shapes and sizes were on display in the village of Alma Wednesday. The weather cooperated for the event. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

"'Who made this one and when was that done?', so it's really a full range of engagement."

All around the community, there are quilts of all shapes and sizes on display.

But at Michael McBurnie's place, there's a little something different.

"We actually didn't have any quilts in the cottage and I actually didn't have a clothesline, so I just made a makeshift clothesline with my Christmas lights that we installed and decided to hang up some Christmas pyjamas to participate and just to try make light of this heavy situation." he said.

Michael McBurnie didn't have a quilt to display. So he decided to hang some Christmas pyjamas instead. He says anything to make people smile right now. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

McBurnie says at a stressful and uncertain time like this, it's important to spread some happiness.

It also happens to be his birthday, one he didn't expect to spend social distancing.

"No, I certainly didn't." he says with a smile.

"I had hoped for somewhat of a large gathering but I'm actually painting inside today. It's great I got a new roller and some paint for my birthday. No, it's good. It'll be a birthday to remember for sure. It's an unprecedented time."

Organizers say, although the "Blanket Our Community with Colour" event is just for one day, they may look at other ways to bring the community together. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

Catherine Rhyno's quilts are hung up along her fence.

She's one of the organizers of the event.

Rhyno says she and another friend were talking about the pandemic.

"So we thought 'What can we do to bring people together, give them a smile, say hello, add some cheer?'." she said.

And after looking for ideas, they settled on the "Blanket Our Community with Colour" event.

Catherine Rhyno is one of the people who came up with idea to display the quilts and blankets. She hopes it gives people a smile. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

Rhyno says there are a lot of talented quilters in the village and a lot of creative people, so this seemed like the right choice.

"We're hoping that it gives them some hope and it gives them some connection with their neighbours and just, in some cases, gives them a smile." she said.

"That's our hope for why we wanted to do this and it seems to be catching on."

About the Author

Kate Letterick is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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