Community Service

The Gems of the Prairie Quilters have two primary goals – Education and Community Service.

Four organizations are currently recipients of our service projects.  Members contribute their time and talent by making appropriate quilts for the following:

  • Neonatal ICU at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois – over 100 quilts per year are donated to use in the tiny babies’ isolette.
  • St. Jude Clinic at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois – each patient receives a quilt they chose from our member donations
  • Center for Prevention of Abuse – quilts and pillow cases for families and seniors served by the Center
  • Quilts of Valor

NICU QUILTS New Sizes requested

NICU noted that they have new beds and have asked for quilts of larger sizes – 24 X 31 or 36 X 36.  Fabric and batting must be 100% cotton.  It is also okay to back a quilt with flannel, but two sided flannel is too heavy.

Guidelines for Little Gems Quilts and Center for Prevention of Abuse

Twin bed- sized quilts  for women:  minimum size  60″ x 85″

These are given to clients and will be washed often, so good quality fabric and cotton or cotton/poly batting is recommended.  The lap quilts can be layered, turned inside out and quilted, so no binding is necessary if you prefer.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—Midwest Affiliate

Quilts are given to children receiving treatment, who range in age from infants to eighteen years old.   Quilts can range in size from a small size – with appropriate children’s fabrics – from 40″ x 48″, all the way up to a teenager’s quilt that would be 60″ x 72″ or so, with an older theme.  These quilts also should be made of good quality fabric, with a cotton or cotton/poly batting, quilted and bound.

The quilts given to St. Jude are laundered prior to donation, because many of the patients have impaired immunity due to their treatments.

All of the above quilts are also labeled with the following:

Made to Comfort You by
Gems of the Prairie Quilters
Peoria IL  <year>

History and Background

Soon after the Gems of the Prairie Quilters was formed in 1990, the Tiny Gems service project began.  A dozen or so little quilts were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.  Over the years, the quantity has grown to almost 300 a year.

In 1995, members created the Little Gems project to make quilts for St. Jude kids.  Every child is given a colorful quilt to take home to help comfort them during their treatment and recovery. Peoria is home to the Midwest Affiliate of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.  No child is turned away from treatment because of inability to pay, and the research done at St. Jude is shared with other medical facilities around the world.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse was added as a recipient of Gems’ community service in 2004.  The Center provides counseling service and housing to victims of domestic violence and assault.  The  Center believes that everyone deserves peace every day, everywhere.  Each day, 15 new people turn to the Center for Prevention of Abuse for safety and support.  The Center serves Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties and all services are free.  The quilts donated to the Center offer comfort and warmth to the women, children and families who seek shelter during a domestic disturbance.  Donated quilts range in size from baby quilts to twin-size bed quilt.

There is a table set up at Gems monthly meetings where prepared kits are available to piece, quilt or bind.  Members of the Little Gems committee are on hand to answer any questions.

Quilts of Valor

Gems of the Prairie Quilts make Quilts of Valor throughout the year. Quilts of Valor are awarded to veterans and active service members at our annual Quilt Show and periodically throughout the year.