Yarmouth quilters do a legion of good for veterans

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YARMOUTH — American Legion Post 91 has been lending its space on Main Street to an organization spreading warmth to veterans and others in need.

HeartStrings, a group of women who make quilts for those who need them, has been meeting in the basement of the legion’s log cabin for one week once a year for the past seven years. The organization has groups around the country and the world.

The group that meets in Yarmouth is made up mostly of Maine women, but also includes residents of New Hampshire, New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania, who make the trip each year.

Resident Beverly True, a member of the group and commander of the post’s ladies auxiliary, said HeartStrings members communicate online and work together to produce quilts.

“It’s a group effort, a big group effort,” she said.

True said her group has made 200 to 300 quilts over the years, which wouldn’t be possible if the legion didn’t let them use its space.

“This is the perfect spot for us to get together once a year and sew,” True said. “If it wasn’t for the legion we wouldn’t be able to meet.”

Carey Trimble, Post 91 commander, said the organization is happy to help, but that True is doing all of the work.

“Bev deserves all the credit,” he said. “She’s a great leader.”

HeartStrings worked at the post all last week, with seven or eight women there each day. They made about 30 quilts, which will be distributed to the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough, the Ronald McDonald House in Portland, and other shelters, hospitals, and nursing homes in the area.

Trimble said even though the legion’s work is focused on veterans, they’re glad to support HeartStrings as it helps anyone who needs a quilt.

“We support veterans causes; we also support the community,” he said.

True said it’s important for people in need to have something comforting like a quilt. She said it is like “giving a hug,” and HeartStrings member Brenda Brady agreed.

“We can’t hug them, but that quilt can,” Brady, of Rochester, New Hampshire, said.

“If our quilts can bring them a little joy, that’s great,” True added.

The women said having a colorful blanket can make a place feel a little more like home.

“It really brightens up the nursing homes,” True said. “It makes it homier.”

True said people can sometimes take simple things, like having a warm blanket, for granted.

“I think we’ve all been given so much in our lives,” she said. “It’s nice to give back and give some comfort.”

Trimble agreed that while a quilt may seem like a simple thing, the gesture is effective in bringing happiness to people in need.

“Anything you can do to aide the vets and people who need help, we’re happy to do that,” he said.

True said not only is it nice to help others, but she and the other HeartStrings members have a lot of fun doing what they do.

“It’s a way for us to give back and play with fabrics, which we love to do,” True said. “It’s a great feeling all around.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Rebecca Townsend, left, Beverly True, and Brenda Brady make quilts last week at American Legion Post 91 in Yarmouth.

The HeartStrings quilting group made about 30 quilts last week, which will be donated to local hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.