Terry Hodskins, a Wells Rotary Club member, launched the quilt project on behalf of Wells Rotary Club in 2001, naming the project WRAP-A-SMILE. The name recognizes the fact that a repair of a cleft lip enables a child to smile for the very first time. Since its inception it has grown fast. Every time there is publicity about Wrap-A-Smile more quilters begin stitching.
Quilters are a group of ladies (and sometimes guys too) that purchase or have fabric of all descriptions that they proceed to cut up and re-assemble into interesting patterns and designs, which, if given a cause, or any reason to make a quilt, they do what is needed to be done. To a quilter, being “Wrapped in a small disposal plastic sheet after surgery was not acceptable.”
Wrap-A-Smile has been published in Family Circle as recently as January 2004. There have been countless articles in the Biddeford, Maine Journal Tribune, as well, the Portland Press Herald, York County Coast Star and the Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine www.quiltersnewslettermagazine.com.
Over two thousand small and colorful home-crafted quilts have passed through Terry Hodskins’ hands, on their way to children recovering from surgery in distant hospitals and clinics.
In January 2004, she shipped 90 quilts to Karaikal, India, where surgeons, nurses and other volunteers will soon be making delicate repairs to lips and mouths of children with disfiguring birth defects. Each youngster coming out of surgery will be wrapped warmly in one of these donated quilts.
Wrap-A-Smile is entirely devoted to supporting the medical missions of Rotaplast International. That national organization, which began as a project of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, now send up to 15 missions a year to countries around the world, offering free surgery to repair cleft lips and cleft palates.
There is no question that Terry Hodskins’ organizational skills have been effective in linking the efforts of many quilters. For instance, she has hooked up members of an Internet quilting group, who stitch the front pattern, with quilters in Maine and Alaska who attach the batting and backing. She has a list of requirements to make sure donated quilts are suitable for Third World conditions.
“We see some beautiful quilts,” she said, “and we turn to each other and ask “Can you imagine this being washing in a river?” Hodskins keeps the Quazy Quilters of Wells, Maine (“my label ladies”) busy attaching labels to each quilt. Along with linking hearts, the labels are eventually inscribed with an important bit of medical information – the date of the surgery.
If you would like to take part or know someone who would, quilts should be baby/lap size, child friendly colors and 100% cotton. The smallest size 36 x 46 and larger size 40 x 60 and any size in between. We ask that they be machine quilted or hand tied, as they may very well be washed in rivers and are generally exposed to difficult conditions.