“They don’t necessarily remember that they were living in a shelter, but they know that they love their quilt.”

Every toddler needs a security blanket, their own little “lovey.” At COTS, those blankets are handmade, one-of-a-kind quilts made by the volunteers from Quilters for COTS.

“When I see a toddler snuggling under their quilt, using it as a tent, or wrapping up their stuffed animal, I think of all the hands that touched each piece of fabric, all the love that went into it,” says Case Manager Debbie Robbins. “I know of several kids who received quilts years ago and still cherish them. They don’t necessarily remember that they were living in a shelter, but they know that they love their quilt.”

It all started back in 1993, when some friends came together to make gifts for the kids at COTS. They’ve since expanded their mission to include our adult clients and the fire survivors we’re helping from our Santa Rosa offices. To date, they’ve provided almost 3,500 quilts!

“There are a lot of steps to putting together a quilt,” says Quilter Coordinator Ellie O’Connor. “Some of it we do on our own at home. But we get together at least once a month to put them together. All told, it takes between six and eight hours to put together one quilt.”

They rely on donations of fabric and batting—the more colorful the better. COTS has strict rules about privacy and confidentiality, so the quilters never know who gets a particular quilt. And that’s okay with them.

“I just think, ‘People will be warmer,’” says quilter Lillian Ruggles. “How beautiful is that? That’s all I need.”

To donate materials or to get involved, please contact Ellie at oconnorell@aol.com or 707.763.0283.