Quilt show raises funds for vision clinic in Guatemala

A roomful of quilters worked on their projects in the St. George Parish Center on Saturday during the Sewing for Sight quilt fundraiser.

ST. GEORGE — Around 250 quilts were on display Saturday in the St. George Parish during the Sewing for Sight fundraiser.

The annual event is part of an effort to raise money for The Foundation for Saving Sight which works to provide eye care to the people of San Lucas-Toliman, Guatemala.

Last year, Sewing for Sight raised over $18,000 for the foundation to build a secure, clean storage and lounge for the various surgical groups that visit San Lucas.

“I think that it is really important that people realize — and I think that is why it has been so successful — is that 100 percent of their money goes directly to the foundation, goes directly to the people of San Lucas,” Ann Wendinger, a co-owner of Sewing Seeds Quilt Company, said.

Sewing Seeds (1417 S. State St.) cosponsors the event along with Catholic United Financial of St. George. They accept donations for the foundation year-round.

The storage facility just finished construction and now takes up the second floor of a building adjacent to the hospital where patients and their families stay.

This year the funds are going to a $60,000 remodeling project to improve space for surgeries.

“One of the other surgical groups from Texas has started a Rotary international project to enlarge and remodel the operating room there to make it more conducive to the surgeries that they are doing,” Dr. Christopher Wallyn said.

That group is Mission St. Luke from Mesquite, Texas. The current operating room was built in a patchwork, responding to different needs at different times.

“It is not the right size, it does not have outlets where outlets need to be, it does not have oxygen where oxygen needs to be, it does not have suction where suction needs to be or (proper) lighting,” Wallyn said.

The new operating room will be designed with input from all five surgical groups who will need to use it.

Quilting for Sight had two featured quilters this year: Linda Poirier of Dassel and Mary Waibel of Courtland.

The both said they were honored to be featured at the fundraiser. Poirier has been quilting since she was about 10-years-old with few breaks in that time.

“I like the creativity of it,” Poirier said. “I like the whole process of it, putting the colors together, building the quilt.”

Waibel said she has been quilting for about 38 years, taking a break to have her family.

“I like the challenge of it and the creativity of it,” Waibel said.

The challenge of quilting that Waibel said she enjoyed was trying make sure “seams matched, points pointed, and circles were round.”

There are also new shirts available for sale at the show and throughout the year. To purchase one or donate contact Sewing Seeds Quilt Co. Their website is sewingseedsquiltco.com and their phone number is (507) 354-8801.