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Food for all quilts

Cathryn Clinton
November 22, 2008

AKRON, Pa. – You are invited to help Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) provide food for people in need by creating a basket design fabric block to be used in a quilt.

Basket blocks or quilt squares will be used in quilts at MCC Relief Sales to help provide money for MCC's Food for All appeal. This money will help MCC support agricultural projects and distribute emergency food assistance in countries such as Ethiopia, where millions of people are facing hunger because of drought and high global food prices.

People have contributed quilts to MCC relief sales for many years, but contributing individual fabric blocks for a quilt project is a fairly new idea. The basket block this year is similar to the heart block and house block quilt projects of the previous two years.

Support and excitement about these block projects continues to grow, according to Harriet Berg, co-coordinator of the North American relief sale board. In 2006, the heart block project brought in more than $55,000.  The 2007 house block project raised about $105,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

Throughout 2008, MCC's quilting coordinators Marlys Wiens in the United States and Bev Patkau in Canada are calling for fabric basket blocks, quilt squares measuring 12 inches finished, 12½ inches unfinished.  They can be pieced or appliquéd, of any color, and of any design around a basket theme.

People are also being invited to create their own basket block quilts and wall hangings to use for this special project at their relief sales in addition to the quilts that are usually sold. Quilt guilds not associated with the Mennonite church are already circulating the information.

Wiens and Patkau will each be assembling a quilt that travels from sale to sale to be used as a fundraiser.  People bid on it as a way to donate to the project without specifically buying the quilt.

"I have already received three basket blocks. They look great." Patkau says. "It is such a pleasure to open up the mail box and find another quilt block inside. I have come to know the 'heart' of people around the world through these projects.

" Berg says, "This will not only be a great way to raise additional funds but also to create awareness of the increased demand for food around the world."

In Canada basket blocks should be sent to Bev Patkau, 227 Valhalla Crescent NW, Calgary AB T3A 1Z8.  She can be contacted by e-mail at

In the United States, blocks can be sent to Marlys Wiens, 7310 York Ave. S. #105, Edina, MN 55435.  She can be contacted by e-mail at For more information or updates on the food basket project, go to mcc relief sales.

For more information on the Food for All appeal go to mcc food for all.  

Cathryn Clinton is a writer for MCC.