Tracy group donates quilts for Camp Fire evacuees in county

We Bee Sisters quilters and Tracy residents Peggy Beck (left) and Elsie Pierce donated nearly 50 quilts to Camp Fire victims in Colusa County, which were distributed by Colusa County Fairgrounds staff.

“We Bee Sisters” – a quilting group based out of Tracy – donated about 50 quilts to the staff at the Colusa County Fair Grounds earlier this month, who in turn dispensed them to Camp Fire victims throughout Colusa County.

Two of the club’s members, Peggy Beck and Elsie Pierce, hand delivered the quilts to the fairgrounds on Dec. 5. According to Colusa County Fair CEO Laura Ford, fairgrounds employees delivered 19 of the quilts to the Colusa Medical Center, 13 of which went to Camp Fire evacuees that are being housed in the facility. The remaining six blankets donated to the hospital went to the other long-term care resident being housed there. Ford added that the remaining quilts either have or will be donated to evacuees who are staying at the fairgrounds, at the Granzella’s Inn in Williams, and potentially at the Migrant Camp in Williams, where the county is housing some evacuees.

“I just want to make sure that it is noted that this random act of kindness started when the We Bee Sisters called the Colusa Fairgrounds looking for evacuees that they could donate these quilts to,” Ford said in an email on Dec. 7. “I felt instantly that we needed to step in and facilitate this gesture.”

In a phone interview, Beck said that We Bee Sisters, which recently disbanded, made quilts for around 10 years as a group, many of which were donated to cancer victims.

“As a group, we were disbanding and these were a lot of the quilts that were left over,” Beck said. “Elsie Pierce, she had some of the quilt tops. She is a long-arm quilter, and so she provided the backs and the batting for 30 of the quilts herself. We bound them, and those were some that we made as a group. The others were ones that as a group we had made that I still had, but hadn’t shipped out yet. We figured after the fire that was the best place for them. I was going up to see my sister (in Dobbins), and said that I would take them up and we will see if we can’t get them to somebody to pass out.”

Beck said she attempted to donate them at a Red Cross shelter in Yuba City, but that they were unable to take the quilts because they didn’t have tags and weren’t new. She called over to the Colusa County Fairgrounds, and spoke with the staff there, who told her to bring them over. When she arrived in Colusa, she spoke with Ford, who assured her she knew where to send them, and Beck left them there Ford set about distributing them.

“It was important to me that these quilts were treated with love and respect on behalf of the ladies who quilted them with love, and with consideration to all the tame it takes to hand quilt each blanket,” Ford said. “Our younger generation may not appreciate these handmade items as our older generations do. It takes a lot of time, and each of these quilts tell a story. My great-grandmother and grandmother were from this generation, and it’s a generation that needs to be honored and remembered.” 

Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.