Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, Chair of the Community Services Committee, and County staff members presented a quilt to the Monroe Township Senior Center. The quilt, crafted by County staff members, features gratitude messages written by participants at the Township’s first annual community Thanksgiving Dinner, held in November 2013.
Gerry Mackenzie, Head of the Department of Community Services, said that the idea for the project was born the night she attended last year‘s Thanksgiving Dinner. The guests of honor were asked to write down what they were thankful for, and Mackenzie and Clerk of the Board Margaret Pemberton began work on making these messages of gratitude into a permanent art project.
Pemberton, already an experienced quilter, took the lead in assembling the quilt. Not long after Mackenzie offered her help, many more volunteers came forward. Some cut pieces of fabric, while others sewed the quilting squares together. No matter what the contribution, everyone’s work was entirely self-motivated.
The quilters, most of whom had never quilted before, completed their work during lunch breaks and at home. Staff involved at various stages of the project included Mackenzie, Pemberton, and members of the Department of Community Services: Teresa Crespo, Andrea Boulton, Charlene Cotton, Marian Ferrar, Leslie Gordon, Linda Higgins, Annette Olsen and Kathie Waite.