RUMFORD — A local quilting group is attempting to pay it forward by donating hand-crafted quilts to several different groups, including an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The Rumford Area Quilters, a quilting group that meets once a month, attempt to donate as many quilts as they can “at least once or twice a year,” according to member Mary Pulsifer.

“We do collect quilts on a regular basis,” Pulsifer said, “and I keep different piles upstairs for different groups. We always save some quilts and keep them on hand for local fire victims, but we try to disperse them to different groups or organizations at least once a year.”

One group that will be benefiting from the quilts provided by the Rumford Area Quilters is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, located in South Dakota.

“This is our second year helping out Pine Ridge,” Pulsifer said. “There’s a woman in Oxford whose husband is a Native American, and he told us about Pine Ridge and how it was the eighth largest Indian Reservation in the United States, but also one of the poorest. Many of the people that live there don’t have running water or electricity, and this is the time of the year when you want to stay warm.”

Pulsifer said that the area quilters had recently delivered around 150 quilts to Oxford to be delivered to South Dakota, but a fire destroyed the Oxford couple’s home, along with the quilts.


“They weren’t as concerned about their own items as they were with the quilts that would not be able to be delivered,” Pulsifer said. “Right now, we’re accepting any quilts or blankets that people would like to donate.”

In addition to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, quilts will also be dispersed by the RAQ to the Dempsey Center, Newborns in Need and Wrap-A-Smile, a group that delivers hand-crafted quilts to children who have had to undergo surgeries.

“The woman who came up with it realized that hand-made quilts were much more comfortable and effective than those blue hospital sheets they wrap you up in,” Pulsifer said. “We ship some quilts up to the town of Alfred every year, and she ships them over to San Francisco, where the company sends them out to children who need them.”

Pulsifer said that the group has recently donated quilts to the Peru Food Pantry, the Lewiston chapter of the Newborns in Need and the Rumford Group Home, which will be opening a Maternity Group Home Transitional Living Program soon for pregnant and parenting youth in Oxford County.

“This is our 12th or 13th year doing this group, and we’re always looking for more quilts, blankets, fleece throws or afghans,” Pulsifer said. “We’ll take anything from little, two-foot square quilts or large quilts. Every little bit helps.”

The Rumford Area Quilters meet on the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at the Virgin Memorial Chapel in the Virginia part of Rumford. Pulsifer said that all interested people are welcome to attend.

For more information, or to donate money or quilts to the cause, call Pulsifer at 562-7050.

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