Hundreds of quilts were on display at Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt Tuesday, showing off just a small selection of the thousands that are being donated to those affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6.
The Quilts for Broncos project was started by quilters in Humboldt and area, with the goal to make 29 quilts, one for each of the members of the Broncos who were on the bus.
“Within a couple of days, we started realizing how many other people were impacted and we thought well we maybe we needed about 200, so we need help, so we put a call out on social media,” Haus of Stitches owner Wendy Toye said.
That call was answered readily. Over 2,000 finished, and about 1,500 unfinished quilts were sent in, not only from Canada but from places such as Brazil, England, Australia, Qatar and the United States.
“It was unbelievable. It was over and above. In fact I was there for the first week and it just kept getting larger and larger,” Humboldt Quilt Guild co-president Glenda Pidlisny said.
“There were many tears, we opened certain quilts and we knew exactly who that quilt should be for or we opened one and we opened a letter or picture of a family that had decided on this quilt and just the heart-wrenching stories that they told. It meant so much to us and I know it meant so much to them.”
These quilts will be going to anyone affected by the tragedy including the Broncos team and staff, their families, first responders, hospital staff, local schools and the Nipawin Hawks, among others.
“They all need that love, anyone that was impacted in this accident and I can say that from our point of view because our granddaughter was one of the paramedics on site and it affected her and she needed that warmth,” Pidlisny said.
“I hope they realize whoever made those quilts really thought about them or one of theirs the entire time … Hopefully they can feel the love and the kindness that has gone into making them,” Toye said.
The mom of Broncos athletic therapist Dayna Brons, who lost her life due to the crash, said she was overwhelmed by the show of support.
“It’s a comfort I guess. It’s hard to explain. I know how much work it is to quilt and stuff. It’s very special to us. Because it’s been a way of remembering,” Carol Brons said.
“It’s hard to believe how many people have been impacted and the connections that people have made and it’s incredible and unbelievable, but we know people care and want to support us and it helps.”
With all of the unfinished quilts that were sent in along with the ones they were making themselves, the local quilters spent hundreds of hours putting on the finishing touches.
The goal initially was to comfort the families but has positively impacted the countless quilters as well.
“It helped us with the project for healing and to all of the people who sent quilts. The letters we got from them were so sincere and (said) ‘thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to help someone else’ so the healing just reached all around the globe from this one project,” Toye said.
The blankets have already started to be sent out. The Nipawin Hawks were the first group to receive theirs.