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Coastal Quilters Guild, Assistance League Make the Yuletide Bright at Hillside House

This year, Christmas was brighter at Hillside House, a home and therapeutic learning community for 59 developmentally disabled people on Veronica Springs Road.

Since its founding in 1945, the staff have made sure to bring in holiday cheer and seasonal activities. With infectious enthusiasm, the residents decorate, dress up, and make Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses and homemade cards for loved ones. There is a Christmas tree and even a visit from Santa, who takes time to talk with the residents.

The Assistance League of Santa Barbara has been an essential part of making Christmas at Hillside House a joyful time, providing generous, beautifully wrapped gifts for the residents each year, and coming over to sing carols and provide an annual bake sale at the Holiday Open House Party. But one thing has been missing: Christmas stockings.

This year, the Coastal Quilters Guild remedied that, making handmade, quilted stockings for each resident, including two Hanukkah stockings for Jewish residents. On Dec. 17, the Coastal Quilters Quartet of Carol Hart, Edalee Keehn, Barbara MacCallum and Nancy Miller delivered the stockings to Hillside House, accompanied by Karen Roberts and Sue Hebert from the Assistance League.

Members of the Assistance League had labeled each stocking and stuffed them with colorful tissue paper and a $25 gift certificate for each resident. The stockings were hung in the resident lounge. Joanne, the newest resident of Hillside House, exclaimed, “They’re so beautiful! They’re amazing!”

The Coastal Quilters Quartet has been serving a two-year stint as the Community Quilts Committee of the 270-member-strong Coastal Quilters Guild. The committee’s responsibility is to oversee the making of quilts for charities in the Santa Barbara area, as part of the Quilters Guild’s overall mission.

Twenty to 30 quilters participated in the making of Christmas stockings for Hillside House’s 59 residents, a project that took several months. Now the quilters are busily making lap quilts for the residents, to be delivered in the spring.

Started by Marty Frolli in 1988, the Coastal Quilters Guild meets monthly and has made quilted placemats for Food from the Heart, Mobile Meals and Serenity House, quilts for patients at home for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, quilts for babies and new mothers at St. Vincent’s, and Christmas stockings for Unity Shoppe, among many other projects.

— Curtis Lauber is the director of development for Hillside House.

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