Quilts a way to 'give comfort' in Humboldt's dark times, says local business owner
Letters and quilts pouring in for families, first responders and others impacted by April 6 crash
Whenever there's a tragedy, quilters turn to their sewing to chase away grief and bring warmth to cold hearts.
"In the quilting world, whenever there's a disaster, a fire or flood, something happens, that's what we do, is make quilts and send them to the victims," explained Wendy Toye, owner of Humboldt's Haus of Stitches ."It's just a natural thing to do, because quilts give comfort."
When Toye heard about the Humboldt Broncos' team bus crash, her mind immediately turned to what she could do for the victims and their families. Of course, quilting came to her mind.
It's taken that rock from the pit of our stomachs away a little bit.- Wendy Toye, owner of Haus of Stitches
She decided to make some lap quilts in the Broncos' colours of green and gold and asked for anyone interested to make donations of whatever they wanted. She hopes to make and collect 200 quilts to distribute.
The request exploded across social media. Toye said donations have come in from across Canada and the United States.
Now she expects to be able to distribute as many as 500 quilts, and not just for the Broncos. Some have sent quilts for other affected groups, like first responders. Toye said the store and volunteers will make sure the quilts are distributed.
Quilting offers an outlet, a way to turn their grief into something tangible, Toye said.
"We know what the Humboldt Broncos mean to this community. And they're a huge asset to us. So you know, everybody's just hurt," she said.
"It's taken that rock from the pit of our stomachs away a little bit."
Letters spell out heavy hearts
Amidst the green and gold fabric and carefully folded quilts, there are also letters expressing heartfelt sympathy and feelings of loss.
"As a hockey mom for many years and as a billet mom, my heart is very heavy these days," wrote one woman.
"I hope this quilt will bring help to someone who needs a hug."
Another person wrote from Scotland, saying they had grown up in America playing hockey. That experience of knowing and loving hockey is another common thread that has pulled together the quilts and the desire to help in any way people can, Toye said.
"Everybody's connected to it somehow."
with files from Olivia Stefanovich