Quilter turns her talents to raise money for Ukraine war relief

“It felt very lovely to be part of a community of people that were making these quilts together,”
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Lynn Aguado has discovered that her craft can help change the world.

A quilt-maker who lives in East Lansing, Aguado started making masks during the early days of the pandemic for those who needed them. Over the past few months, she completed a much larger project to help contribute to war relief efforts in Ukraine.

Inspired by Bonnie Hunter, a designer who launched a Hearts for Hope mystery sew-along when the war in Ukraine started, Aguado made a full-sized quilt that she donated to Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing. They will be raffling it off at noon on Sunday, Oct. 2 with tickets going on sale Sunday Sept. 11.

Hunter designed a quilt and gave out the design for free, releasing a different part of the pattern each week. She also coordinated with a fabric store that was selling blue and yellow fabric; the proceeds from those sales went to Ukraine relief efforts.

“It felt very lovely to be part of a community of people that were making these quilts together,” Aguado said. “In addition to getting the pattern for free, she asked people to donate money to causes that would benefit Ukraine and encouraged people to donate the quilts either to Ukrainian refugees or to donate for raffles or fundraising events.”

Aguado learned about Eastminster’s efforts to raise money for the relief fund when she participated in the church’s Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating event in March 2022. She learned about it on the Facebook 517 group and came with a friend.

“I am grateful that Lynn reached out to the church offering her gifts so that we can continue to raise funds for Ukrainian relief,” said Rev. Kristin Stroble, Eastminster’s pastor and organizer of the event. “Coming together, whether in worship, an Easter egg workshop, a quilt raffle or in advocacy is a sign and act of hope.”

An MSU associate professor of Russian, Shannon Donnally Quinn taught attendees at the March workshop how to make the traditional Ukrainian easter eggs. All proceeds from the event went to war relief funds.

“I have a good friend who loves all things international,” Aguado said. “She and I came and had a really wonderful time. It just felt good to be able to contribute in a small way towards the efforts for helping Ukraine and still learn about the culture and the community and do something creative and fun.”

An employee of the Office for Education Abroad at Michigan State University, Aguado says she is not involved in politics, but cares very much about international travel and works with students whose plans were thrown awry by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While she acknowledges there are many other conflicts happening in the world, she said the tragedy of this one resonated with a lot of Americans.

“I felt like I could do something to support this challenging situation and help the people who were affected and had to be relocated or who were losing everything—their homes, their livelihoods,” Aguado said. “The reward is just knowing that I can do something good, something tangible. It was an action I could take that would make a difference.”

While Aguado followed Hunter’s pattern, she also incorporated some of her own scrap fabrics to personalize the quilt. She loves to travel, so there are small airplane motifs. Hearts pay tribute to her son who was born on Valentine’s Day.

“I feel so helpless sometimes with all the horrible things that are happening in the world,” Aguado said. “Just knowing that you have done things to support the relief efforts, helps make things easier.”

Raffle tickets are $5 each and are available for purchase at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 1315 Abbot Rd, East Lansing or by calling 517-337-0893. The church will accept cash or check only. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and worship services are at 10 a.m. on Sundays. All proceeds will go to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, earmarked for Ukrainian war relief.

“As we pray for an end to the violence, we are committed to undergirding our prayers with tangible resources to help,” Stroble said. “We will be giving all the money raised to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, who will provide direct funding to partners on the ground in Ukraine.”

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