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Making the winter holidays special, one thread at a time

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By Leo Wolfson

Many children don’t have a warm comforter to snuggle in at night – something that Kids

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Quiltz founders Wilma and Lyle Hamilton hope to change this holiday season.

 

“Families especially are struggling for money, even if they wanted to give their kid

something like that,” said Wilma Hamilton, a founder of the nonprofit group, which

makes quilts for those in need. “They need it for food; they need it for gas to get to

work.”

 

Kidz Quiltz, run by Wilma and her husband Lyle Hamilton, sends hundreds of blankets

around the world each year to needy children and impoverished or disaster stricken

areas like Houston, Texas, this September. The group narrows its focus to Weld County

and Fort Lupton during the holidays to help the local community. 

 

Wilma Hamilton said she has only seen photos of people who received quilts, but that

the photos warmed her heart.

 

“Every little kid has the big smile,” said Wilma Hamilton. “For us, to be able to make

some local kid happy was something that’s really special.”

 

Kidz Quiltz produces around 100 quilts each holiday season in addition to donated

quilts. People donate all materials and funding. The Hamiltons run the nonprofit on a

modest $16,000 yearly budget. They work with around 200 volunteers a year in their

building at 457 Park Ave. Volunteers work on about 10 different sewing machines. Many

of their volunteers donate time in return for community service hours or food stamps.

About 20 percent volunteer simply out of the generosity of their hearts. A great number

are teenagers who just need a little guidance and structure in their lives, Wilma

Hamilton said.

 

“My brother told me, ‘Not only are you helping the kids who need your help, you’re also

helping the kids that need development,’” said volunteer and instructor Christine Baker.

 

Through gentle yet firm instruction Wilma Hamilton and Baker help the quilt volunteers

fabricate seamless threads.Many volunteers have little to no sewing experience, Wilma Hamilton said.

 

“When people come in, I usually show them how to run the sewing machine because

honest to God, most people that come here don’t have a clue how to run a sewing

machine,” Wilma Hamilton said. “If a stitch isn’t straight, we tell them, ‘Rip it out.’”

 

Each quilt takes six to 10 hours to make. Volunteers with more experience go for more

elaborate designs and unique fabrics like denim and leather, while others stay with the

tried and true, sewing colorful snowmen and Santa Claus patterns. Kidz Quiltz also

includes Bibles with most of the quilts.

 

“We put little pockets on the back of the blankets and we put little Bibles in the

blankets,” Wilma. “That to me is comforting because that traumatized little kid that

doesn’t have anything, now has a blanket, but also has something of comfort.”

 

Wilma Hamilton will not let a quilt go out the door unless it has passed her standards of

excellence. This attention to detail has earned Kidz Quiltz prestige within the Colorado

charity community.

 

“I took a huge stack of quilts to World Visions (a Denver charity) and I asked them, ‘Do

you need to look through them?’ And he goes, ‘Nope, everything that comes out of Fort

Lupton is quality,’” Hamilton said.

 

In previous years, Kidz Quiltz donated to the Court Appointed Special Advocates

(CASA) of Weld and Adams counties – an outreach program for children, the Fort

Lupton Food and Clothing Bank, and the Cottonwood Care Center in Brighton. Wilma

Hamilton said she is not sure which nonprofit group might receive quilts this holiday

season.

 

However, the volunteers are loyal and hard-working, whether or not she and her

husband are around, Hamilton said. The couple went on vacation before and Baker and

other volunteers worked until midnight every night for several days to get 109 quilts

done for Christmas.

 

“So, this time we’re starting earlier,” Hamilton said.

 

The group also plans start offering sewing classes over the next few months to get

children interested in sewing, Baker said.

 

At the same time, the Hamiltons hope to retire in early 2018.

 

“I’ll be 76 (years old) Dec. 30th and I’m tired, I’m tired of working every day. And all the

volunteers are telling me, ‘You can’t stop working,’” said Wilma Hamilton, laughing.

 

Finding people to run the charity the couple founded 12 years ago is no easy task

though, as it is a full-time, non-paying commitment, Hamilton said.

 

“Hopefully we can kind-of phase out of it,” said Wilma. “We definitely need somebody to

take over and run this as a Christian organization.”

 

Wilma feels hopeful that her volunteer base will orchestrate a committee-like approach

run the program.

 

“I kind of have a feeling … it’s going to be one person who’s here two days, another

person’s here the next few days. It’s not going to be one person who’s the responsible

person for everything,” said Wilma.

 

To donate a quilt or money, or to volunteer, contact Hamilton at: Wilma@kidzquiltz.org or call 303-857- 8600.