Meet the Quilting Angels of Community Memorial Health System
For almost ten years, a special and diverse group of women from all over Ventura County have been gathering at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura to provide comfort and support to our patients in a very unique and memorable way.
Once a month, the 8th floor auditorium at CMH is transformed from a quite meeting space into a whir of activity as the “Quilting Angels” arrive and unpack their sewing machines, fabric, rulers, scissors, and pin cushions. Brightly colored quilts at various stages of completion fill the room, as does a contagious and uplifting laughter.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” said Corina Solecki, a member of the Quilting Angels. “But we come together with the common goal of creating love and comfort in the form of beautiful handmade quilts.”
Each patient faces his or her own unique challenges during a hospital stay, and it’s often the little things such as visits from friends and family, cards and flowers, or familiar items from home that make the biggest difference in the recovery process. Such things can provide the comfort and reassurance many people need to overcome an illness. For some patients, this support and encouragement comes in the form of a handmade quilt from the Quilting Angels.
“When a patient receives a quilt, it’s indescribable,” said Reverend Curtis Hotchkiss, Director of Spiritual Services at Community Memorial Health System. “And every quilt seems to find just the right person.” Reverend Curtis and the Spiritual Care Services team are the stewards of the completed quilts, handing them out to patients whenever a little extra reassurance or support is needed.
Since forming, the Quilting Angels have completed nearly 1400 unique quilts – all with donated fabric and supplies shared amongst the members. They also share tips, tricks, and new techniques with each other, with many of the more seasoned quilters taking the time to teach newer members along the way.
As the opening of the new Ocean Tower at Community Memorial Hospital nears, the Quilting Angels have taken on the task of creating a special “Moving Day” quilt for every patient who makes the move from the existing hospital into the new building. A distinct patch commemorating the occasion will be sewn into the corner of each of these special quilts.
Upon attending a gathering of the Quilting Angels, visitors immediately get the sense that it’s so much more than meets the eye. A genuine spirit of service fills the room.
“I fell amazing making quilts for our patients,” said Debbie Ostrander, Quilting Angel and Executive Secretary at CMH. “I’m just blessed to be part of it.”