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Davis Journal

Women stitching hearts worldwide

Nov 04, 2022 10:02AM ● By Karen Painter

When Kaysville resident Deanne Tanner’s youngest child moved out earlier this year, she started looking for a way to serve the community.

“Being an empty nester was fun until I got bored and lonely,” Tanner said.

Tanner wanted to combine her love of quilting with a way to serve others. She searched for a place to volunteer and found a position as an area manager with Stitching Hearts Worldwide. Tanner had previously tied quilts for the organization with her church women’s organization.

“I felt this was something I could really do,” said Tanner.

Stitching Hearts Worldwide is a nonprofit organization that provides the necessary tools and materials to help individuals and groups make handmade items like quilts, sleeping mats, or receiving blankets. 

Utah County resident Krysti Wright started the organization in 2016. She raised eight children and ran a long-arm quilting business for nine years but wanted to make her company more charitable.

“I wanted to give back somehow with my quilting but wasn’t sure what to do, so I started to pray about it,” Wright said.

Wright felt she received an answer to make quilts for those in need and began working with friends, family, and others to sew, envelope, and tie quilts to donate.

However, Wright didn’t know where more supplies would come from or even where to donate the quilts when they were complete.

“I trusted God would take care of it,” Wright said.

Two days later, Wright ran into the founder of the Launfal Foundation, Rose Ann Gunther, who had been doing service for 25-plus years. Gunther donated thousands of yards of fabric for Wright to get started. Wright connected with and helped fill needs for quilts and other handmade items for Launfal, Lifting Hands International, The United Way, and other humanitarian organizations.

“Since 2016, we’ve sent thousands of quilts overseas (including Somalia, Lebanon, Jordan, Guatemala, and Bangladesh),” Wright said. “We also donated locally, including sending 1,000 quilts to families in my hometown of Paradise, California, displaced by the fires. This year alone, we’ve sent over 1,300 quilts to Ukraine refugees.” 

Stitching Hearts is expanding, and hundreds of people are sewing projects for the organization to be shipped worldwide. Since starting a few months ago in Kaysville, Deanne Tanner has helped high school students, nursing students, church organizations, and others get the materials they need to begin sewing quilts and other handmade items.

“It’s really picking up now. I have had many people call wanting to serve,” Tanner said.

Currently, Tanner drives to the Stitching Hearts warehouse in Pleasant Grove to get the supplies needed for service groups. Sometimes Fruit Heights area manager Sharene Lloyd or managers in Layton and Farmington make the hour drive to pick up supplies.

Lloyd became involved with Stitching Hearts after returning some of the completed projects her women’s church organization had sewn to the Pleasant Grove headquarters.

“They asked me to be an area manager, and it’s been really good,” she said. “I first thought it was to pick up and drop off projects, but it’s more about meeting the needs of the people who want to serve and connect.”   

Lloyd decided to run a quilting club/social each month.

“Anyone who wants to work on quilts can come to my house, tie quilts, and socialize,” she said. “It’s nice to get people who want to do service but can also have an opportunity to serve together and make that connection. We are serving each other as we do these projects and meeting each other’s emotional needs.” 

Lloyd and Tanner said it would be nice if they could establish a satellite warehouse in the Davis/Weber County area for storage and a place for groups to meet.

“There is just such a need. We are growing so fast,” Lloyd said.

Tanner also said a facility is needed because they need more storage. A family recently donated their mother’s material after she passed.

“I’m in trouble with my family,” said Tanner. “My living room is overflowing with material.” 

Tanner would also like a space where people could serve.  

“I love having people at my home, but I have animals, and it doesn’t accommodate the needs of all those who want to serve,” she said. “Recently, a young woman could not serve with her group at my home because she was allergic. It would be nice to have a place that won’t be awkward.” 

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