Killeen Daily Herald
Sieglinde Moore found a way to put her long-time sewing skills to use by offering comfort to children facing months without one or both parents.
Volunteers for Operation Kid Comfort, a program run under the Killeen Armed Services YMCA, create quilts and pillow shams featuring family photographs to give to children of deploying troops.
"My responsibility is to make sure we have the supply we need," said Moore, the program's head volunteer. "I make sure the machines run and the fabric is cut the right way."
At any one time, Moore may be seen teaching new volunteers how to use a sewing machine, fetching supplies from storage or helping lay out and design quilts, which use a special-order paper to transfer home photographs to fabric squares.
All volunteers have military connections in their families, so working to provide the quilts and shams for children becomes personal.
"We connect to each one because we all know what it feels like to be alone at home with everyday problems. You're usually not where your family, like your parents, are," she said. "I've been through it twice in the Vietnam era."
Quilts may feature up to eight photographs made for children age 7 or younger because "most older children don't like to snuggle," said Moore. For them, the volunteers offer pillow shams that include about three photos.
The experience of handing a parent or child a completed project is one "you have to experience," said Moore.
"Mainly the mothers or fathers who pick it up react more than the child," she said. "Sometimes there's sadness, then they're like, 'Wow, this is incredible.'"
Volunteers are even known to take projects home to finish them if a family is due to relocate soon, but all enjoy spending four hours of their Wednesdays sewing at the YMCA. To date, they have completed more than 1,000 quilts and 250 pillow shams.
Operation Kid Comfort celebrated its third year in May.
"(Moore's) been with it from the beginning," said Susan Mino, Kid Comfort coordinator at the YMCA. "Her knowledge of quilting, she's amazing."
As an all-volunteer program, Mino said Operation Kid Comfort would not be possible without people like Moore.
"Their knowledge and expertise. They know (quilting)," she said. "They have a knack of putting fabrics together."
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to help
Operation Kid Comfort has been making quilts and pillow shams for children of deployed troops for three years. Quilt-making activities take place at the Armed Services YMCA at 415 N. Eighth St. in Killeen on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Training is available for those who want to help, but are unfamiliar with sewing machines. Inquiries about donating supplies, funds or time can be made by calling (254) 634-5445.