by Anna Denson
In the last year alone, REACH of Haywood County, Inc. has provided emergency shelter to 84 people – 32 of whom were children. Often, these survivors have fled from abusers with only the clothes on their backs, leaving behind necessities, mementos, and the comforts of home. Uprooted, they must rebuild their lives from scratch.
One group of local crafters have made it their mission to provide these survivors with a touch of warmth – both figuratively and literally.
Originally formed by Cheryl Hartman as the Killer Bees, this group of philanthropic quilters has been donating quilts to the shelter children since 2001. So many, in fact, that they were recognized in 2006 with the NC Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, as well as the Points of Light Volunteer Award, presented to them with gratitude from local Haywood organizations.
The group changed their name in 2014 to the Tree Top Quilters, but have steadily continued their good works. Since beginning their donations, now nearly 15 years ago, the quilters have contributed almost 1500 quilts to care for survivors in the REACH shelter.
Now, the Tree Top Quilters not only donate their work directly to the shelter children, but also sell quilts to raise charitable funds. Their beautiful handmade quilts are available at both the Within Reach Home Store in Hazelwood and Cedar Hill Gallery, which is on Waynesville’s Main Street. All proceeds from these sales go to support REACH and the families they serve.
The Tree Top Quilters are always accepting new members, who are welcome to use a pre-made kit or to create their own design with fabric from the quilters’ stash. Interested parties can contact Diane Davis for more information, at 407-505-9769.