A dozen people sit at sewing machines in the classroom of the Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Hobby Lobby. They are on a mission. The group, called Grateful Threads of Elizabeth City, meet every month volunteering their time to plan, sew, cut fabric and create quilts for military personnel.
The Elizabeth City group is part of a national non-profit organization called Quilts of Valor. The organization provides comforting and healing quilts to military service members and veterans touched by war. Quilts of Valor chapters are located across the United States and have awarded almost 160,000 quilts.
Hobby Lobby store manager, Wednesday Payne, and fabric department lead, Shannon Elliott, started the local chapter in September 2016. “Our local Coast Guard Air Station contacted us,” said Shannon. “They wanted to know if we had a Quilts of Valor program.” Shannon grew up in a military family, and both she and Wednesday are military wives. There was not a local chapter, and the concept intrigued them. They researched the organization and decided to start a chapter.
“Our community has been incredible about being a part of this,” said Shannon. “Customers have purchased fabric—sometimes whole bolts—to give to our group. Local quilters have heard about us and now are members of our group. This chapter has been good for our community, it’s been good for us who work here, and it’s been good for the military community.”