By Jessica Creagan
VERO BEACH -- It is expected that a police department will have storage space to keep evidence from cases, firearms, ammunition, but they also have a special space for stuffed animals, and now quilts.
Last week, members of Morning Star Church of Vero Beach donated 30 small quilts to the Vero Beach Police Department.
The quilts will be given to children who are involved in domestic situations where law enforcement has intervened, law enforcement officials said.
The quilts were vibrant, some with animals such as elephants, frogs, and seahorses themes, others with cars and helicopters and others in light pastels with graceful dancers. All of the quilts were just the right size for young children to cocoon themselves within the blanket's warmth.
"These aren't your grandmother's bed quilts," said Susan Rupert, one of the lead quilters.
"We wanted them to be kid-oriented, with bright colors and fun panels and not a lot of piecing. They are comfortable and easy to care for, you could wipe your nose on them and then throw them in the washer without worrying," Ms. Rupert said.
Mrs. Rupert said the church group first began making quilts a little more than a year ago for the Visiting Nurse Association's hospice house in Vero Beach.
"We had a member in hospice care and we wanted to make something to say thank you to the people that worked there," Mrs. Rupert said.
Shortly thereafter, a donation of quilts was made to the local veteran's council, but the quilting ladies wanted to continue their project and give more to the community, and when someone suggested the police department, they knew it would be the perfect place.
"We heard they typically give out stuffed animals to the children who have been victims of crimes, or have been removed from their homes, and now they can give them a quilt to choose from," Ms. Rupert said.
The quilting group meets once a week at the home of Morning Star Church member Peggy Suchorski, whose garage has been converted into a sewing room with multiple sewing machines.
"I wanted to teach people how to sew and decided to do that with quilts. We have a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store in Vero Beach and the manager has been so kind to us, been very good about helping us get things on sale, making sure we have coupons," Mrs. Suchorski said.
Though the size of the sewing group varies from week to week, the quilters have gotten quite good at working together on the various machines, enjoying the creative process and each other's company.
"It's been wonderful to just grow the fellowship between us, bringing us closer together, and we are working on this wonderful project," Mrs. Suchorski said.
"I hope that the quilts uplift the children, puts a little smile on their face and that they let them know that there are people out there that care about them," she said.
The quilters have already begun on their next donation project -- quilts for Care Net Pregnancy Center in Vero Beach.
For more information about the Vero Beach Police Department, visit www.vbpd.org. For more information about Morning Star Church, visit www.morningstarvero.org.