By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Comfort Quilts Donated To Police Department
E quilts-1
A presentation of 15 Comfort Quilts to the Escalon Police Department was made Friday morning. From left, Escalon Kiwanis Club members Vickie Mello, Tom Lester, Laura Weaver, Arlie Kirkendall, Interim Police Chief Mike Harden, Kiwanis Club President Pam Dyer, presenting a $500 check to the Lodi Rag Quilters members Ellen Ashbaugh, Martha Lind and Sheree Coe. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Money provided by the Escalon Kiwanis Club, given as a donation to the Lodi Rag Quilters, has now come back to the community in the form of ‘comfort quilts’ that will be placed in Escalon Police Department patrol cars.

The idea is simple: officers keep a couple of the quilts in their vehicle, for distribution to youngsters in need of a little comfort at an accident scene, a domestic disturbance call, or any type of emergency.

Escalon Kiwanis Club President Pam Dyer said the group donated $500 to the quilters, and they used the money for supplies to make the quilts. Each quilt is in its own Ziploc bag, and includes either a small Beanie baby stuffed animal or a book, also suitable for children.

Presentation of the 15 comfort quilts was made outside the police department building on Friday morning.

“Each patrol car has been provided with two comfort quilts,” Interim Police Chief Mike Harden wrote in a memo to officers. “Extra quilts have been placed in the equipment room. Please feel free to give a quilt to a child who might need some comfort or who might be frightened and who might benefit from your generous offering.”

Harden also offered his thanks to both groups, the Kiwanis Club and Rag Quilters, for the donation.

Dyer said she got the idea of having the quilts in patrol cars after seeing a donation from the group at Haven of Peace, the women and children’s shelter where she serves as a board member.

The 30-by-40 quilts are the perfect size for a child, said officials.

“Late at night, if a child needs something for comfort, they’ll be available in the patrol cars,” explained Rag Quilters member Ellen Ashbaugh of the small quilts. “The CHP in San Joaquin County is where we started this.”

Group co-leader Sheree Coe said the group makes about 650 quilts a year and distributes them among several difference organizations.

Next time, Ashbaugh noted, they will add Escalon to the list and make sure the police department gets more. Coe said her twin grandchildren, a 9-year-old boy and girl, helped sew and pack the quilts so it is a multi-generational effort.

The quilters have a workshop on July 12 at Lodi Avenue Baptist Church, 2301 W. Lodi Ave., running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and they have been providing quilts since 2009.

Among the recipients, the San Joaquin County Highway Patrol, Foster Youth, Lodi police and fire departments, Kiwanis Family House at UC Davis, Lodi Salvation Army, Transitional Learning Center for homeless children, Lodi House and more. Their motto is “Wrapping children with love in their time of need” and the group accepts donations of fabric, batting, sheets, blankets, thread and cash. Donations can be left at The Vintage, 2145 W. Kettleman Lane or Rydel’s Healthy Home, 26 W. Lodi Ave., Lodi.

Escalon Kiwanis Club meets every Friday at Saron Lutheran Church at 6:45 a.m. and is always looking for new members, added Dyer of the local group.

“Just show up and contribute your time, come to a meeting and see if it’s a good fit for you.”