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Okanagan quilting group helping lift spirits of parents with babies in intensive care

‘They are really under stress’: Okanagan quilters lift spirits of parents with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The Orchard Valley Quilters Guild is a large group with a long-standing presence in the Central Okanagan.

The guild was started almost 40 years ago and has grown to include dozens of members.

A spokesperson for the Orchard Valley Quilters Guild (OVQG), Barb Segal, said there are approximately 75 members.

Read more: Palliative care patients receive handmade quilts

The women, many of them seniors, love to sew and make quilts. They also love giving back to the community.

“They’re giving back to the community because they can and we have a responsibility,” Segal told Global News. ” You donate your time and you donate your talents.”

Every year, the OVQG donates hundreds of quilts to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH).

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“We supply over 400 quilts to the NICU every year,” Segal said. “It’s not our only program, but it is the largest program.”

The NICU cares for babies that are born prematurely or with medical complications.

Barn quilt trail showcases historical buildings and barns around North Okanagan Shushwap
Barn quilt trail showcases historical buildings and barns around North Okanagan Shushwap

Segal said in many cases, the quilts are donated during what is a stressful time for families receiving care in the NICU.

“It’s great to do it for the little ones; their parents are under stress more than any pregnancy. They are really under stress when they are in the NICU,” Segal said.

“It’s kind of an uplifting thing when they get a quilt.”

Margaret Englert, 89, is one of the guild’s longest members.

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During her 35 years, she has made hundreds of quilts and has already sewn 40 this year alone.

“I just love sewing and quilting,” Englert said. “I was doing handicraft work with my mother when I was about five years old.”

Read more: NICU nurse cares for baby, finds out dad was patient 30 years ago

Englert said it gives her joy to help uplift families going through a tough time by donating her quilts.

“I feel really great for that, yes,” she said. “I hope they enjoy them and treasure them.”

The guild is always welcoming new members, as well as donations of fabric so they can continue giving back to the community.

“We are looking for fabric that is cotton, and generally (quilts for) children is what we do,” Segal said.

If you would like more information about the Orchard Valley Quilters Guild, or to donate fabric, can click here.