We have quite a number of new people who have joined our ranks so I figured I should write a quick post on how to make a request and who can make a request.
The quilts and laundry bags we make are a GIFT to say thank you to the serving members for their service to Australia and the sacrifice that service asks of them and their loved ones. There is not charge for them. You can not BUY them. They are GIVEN with our best wishes.
We send to our soldiers, sailors and airmen who are deployed to serve in our name overseas. I might add here that I hope to expand the areas we serve in the future but will need to be sure we have the resources to do so first. For now, we sent to those on Operation Slipper, including whichever HMA Ship is currently deployed, that being HMAS Darwin at the moment. We also send to those on United Nations Peace Keeping Missions overseas. At the moment those in South Sudan on Operation Aslan are really doing it tough over there and they are very grateful of our attentions which are reminding them that they are not forgotten. We also look after those who are part of the UN Mission in the Sinai on Operation Mazurka. Unfortunately I have lost contact with them at the moment so they are not receiving either quilts or laundry bags so if someone can put me in touch with someone over there we can spread the word to them and send them some AHQ love again. If you know of someone who is serving overseas and who has access to an AFPO Free post mailing system other than the ones I have mentioned please let me know. I believe there are other UN Missions of a smaller scale and would love to take care of them also but I need the contacts so if you can help me out please do so.
Additionally, if you know a defence member representing Australia overseas and you think they would like a quilt please let me know. I am sure there are often people that I have not heard about who could benefit from a little Aussie Hero love.
Back to how to make a request. I have been told that AHQ flyers and brochures are hanging all over the Middle East Area of Operations so many of the requests I get are direct from the troops by email or facebook message. If you know of someone who is deployed, your wife, husband, brother, friend, partner, mother, father, next door neighbour….who ever, as long as you can get me their full name and rank with PM Keys and postal address I can add them to my request list. Wive and husbands request for their partners, bosses request for their troops, troops request for their bosses, mates request for mates.
If you know someone who is deployed on the latest Operation Slipper bound ship then things work a little differently. I brief each chaplain, or in the case of HMAS Darwin, both the chaplain and the captain, before the ship deploys. Some time after they sail they inform the crew of Aussie Heroes and what we do and they call for requests. That list is then forwarded to me. What usually happens is that some of the crew don’t think they want or need a quilt…………..until the parcels start to arrive so I wait and then give them a second bite at the cherry! There are always more requests once those first quilts have been seen!
Everyone who submits a request is told the same thing and this is my standard blurb.
All you need to do to request a quilt or a laundry bag is send me your full postal address with PM keys and first name. Additionally I need to know the last full month you are deployed for so that I can slot you in. I allocate quilts to those who will come home first so that hopefully no one misses out. Finally, although I must stress we cannot guarantee a personalized quilt or laundry bag, we do like to try so can you please pass on your favourite colours and hobbies or interest. As I said, I cannot be sure that the quilt you receive will bear any resemblance to the one you request but if the right quilter has the right fabric in their stash you could be lucky. A quilt and/or laundry bag will be sent to you sometime in your deployment, but as early as we can manage.
I shall look forward to hearing from you.
Asking for favourite colours, hobbies and interests is as much for the quilters and laundry bag makers as it is for the recipients. Many of my ladies want a starting point. Personally I find it very hard to get started if I don’t know what the person would like. Even if I just start with the favourite colour it gives me a direction and many of my ladies and gents are the same. At the same time I have plenty of quilters and sewers who work with what they have and create quilts and laundry bags from their stash. In the end, as I said in my blurb “I cannot be sure that the quilt you receive will bear any resemblance to the one you request but if the right quilter has the right fabric in their stash you could be lucky. “
Once I receive a name I add it to my list of requests. Once a week or so I circulate the list in the following format to all those on my volunteer email list. (and for any quilters the following requests are still available.)
|Parramatta Eels, Iron Man . Marvel superheroes
|Blue Nth QLD Cowboys Superman
|blue, anything military or Dr Who or Collingwood football club. He will love anything he receives.
The quilters do not receive the personal details of a request until they have agreed to take it on. In certain cases, due to the nature of the unit the person belongs to or the nature of their job, the need for confidentiality is even higher. In those cases I am the only person who knows the name of the recipient and if I don’t make the quilt myself I have quilters who are happy to make a quilt and send it to me to send off.
I think that about covers how to make a request but it is probably also worth me telling you that, where possible, I will email whoever made the request and let them know when their quilt is on its way. If someone other than the recipient made the request I will send a photo of the quilt on the understanding that the photo is not shared until the quilt has been received. I really appreciate it if someone, either the recipient or the person who requested the quilt can let me know when the quilt has been received safe and sound. Most of the quilters are just happy to know their quilt has made it to its destination safe and sound. If I don’t hear anything after a month or so, depending on where the quilt has been sent, I will send an email to see if it has arrived. I don’t want to be a nuisance so I will send one email after a month or so, another after a further two or three weeks and then will just assume the quilt has been received. Of course I do not always have email addresses for all recipients and sometimes those who submit a request seem to disappear as well but I do what I can to make sure that every quilt or laundry bag arrives at its destination.
So, now you know how to make a request, and who can make a request and where we can send to so don’t hold back. 🙂
Now there is no way I can leave this post without some photos so I thought I would re-run some pictures of some of the “random” quilts, those that are not “personalised” but often are some of my favourites.
And just before we end for the night, the following is a list of those who have sent quilts and laundry bags over the last week. If you have sent something off and are not on the list please let me know. I have a sewing day here tomorrow so any photos received after tonight will not make it into the post tomorrow night and will be kept for next week.
Till next time, keep spreading the word and happy stitching! JMxx