A Rotary Club Quilting Adventure

by Mary Elena Dochterman

What is there to do, you ask, on a Sunday afternoon in Moraga, California, a sleepy suburb on the East side of San Francisco Bay? Some play golf or tennis, work in the garden, entertain friends and family, but Rotarians occasionally gather at the home of Linda and Jim Campbell to create quilts
for Rotaplast.

Last Rotary year, Moraga Rotary cut, sewed and quilted 20 of the 110 quilts which District 5160 clubs sent with the Rotaplast team to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The colorful quilts were given to each of the small children who received life changing surgery for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Until Rotary decided to provide quilts, the children were wrapped in plastic garbage bags to keep them warm following surgery. Aside from being unsafe, the plastic bags were disposable, and therefore, the Rotaplast team felt it would be a great addition to the medical service to provide a quilt which each child could keep.

Not only was this a worthwhile project, but it gave us an outstanding fellowship event and a feeling of accomplishment. Other quilting bees have been held and more are planned. The Moraga Rotary Club highly recommends this project for your consideration.

Linda is a member of the Rotary Quilting Fellowship, and she and Jim, an Assistant Governor of District 5160, open their home to Rotarians, spouses and friends to provide a conducive atmosphere for the production of small quilts to be sent with Rotaplast teams to far off places. We enjoy the fellowship of our friends while we participate from afar in a hands-on humanitarian project. We cut, iron, sew, piece, pin, talk, laugh, and enjoy a wonderful Sunday afternoon. At the end of the afternoon, we are joined by some of our non-quilting Rotarians, for a potluck dinner for all.

All the quilts are made out of durable, 100% cotton which can be easily laundered on the rocks of a river or wherever the laundry is done in the communities served by Rotaplast teams. The quilts were fairly simple patterns, so we found that it doesn’t take a great deal of talent to help with this project. A few capable quilters could direct those with less experience or ability in the needle arts. And who was the star performer?

Past R.I. President Cliff Dochterman! Cliff is a member of the Moraga Rotary Club who brought his own sewing machine and thoroughly enjoyed the day, cutting, sewing and fully producing a very colorful quilt top – his first!