RUMFORD — Volunteers from River Valley spent Thursday morning assembling several sleeping bags from recycled or repurposed materials for homeless teens.

Mary Pulsifer of Peru and several others crafted the bags to give to Mountain Valley High School.

“Sometimes, homeless doesn’t mean that someone is literally without a home,” she said. “Some people couch-surf, and don’t have a regular place to sleep on a day-to-day basis. By making these sleeping bags, and giving people their own bedding, it really helps a lot.”

“The idea was never to make the quilts out of recycled or repurposed materials,” Pulsifer said. “We (just) don’t want to spend any money on the materials. We use whatever is leftover or laying around.”

Pulsifer said Rumford Area Quilters began 20 years ago to make items for groups and organizations needing them.

“We started realizing that there were a lot of people in the area who could use quilts or blankets,” she said.


The group received a phone call from a representative with the My Brother’s Keeper quilt group, a nonprofit organization that uses recycled fabrics to make sleeping bags for homeless individuals.

“She asked me if we could make some sleeping bags to donate,” Pulsifer said.

Over the years the Rumford group has donated quilts to Wrap a Smile, Newborns in Need, the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Hearling and Togus veterans.

Their next big project is to create quilts for 16 veterans at Rumford Community Home and Pinnacle Health & Rehab, formerly known as the Victorian Villa.

“We call up the nursing homes each year and find out how many quilts we need to knit,” Pulsifer said. “When we give them to the veterans, they’re so appreciative and tell us, ‘Oh, we don’t deserve this.’ I always tell them, ‘Yes, you absolutely do.’”

Rumford Area Quilters is accepting donated 30- by 30-inch, and 36- by 36-inch newborn quilts for Rumford Hospital.


“Kids aren’t supposed to go home in their regular outerwear,” Pulsifer said. “We make the quilts so parents can wrap their babies in them when they go home.”

The group also makes quilts, blankets, or sleeping bags for children who have been displaced by a fire.

“Sometimes, it’s difficult to connect with people who are victims of a fire,” Pulsifer said. “If anybody knows somebody who was displaced by a fire, and has children, let us know.”

Rumford Area Quilters meets the second Thursday of every month at 1 p.m. at the Virgin Memorial Chapel on Linnell Street.

For more information, call Pulsifer at 562-7050.


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