Last summer Celise Sternecker McKee, Wittenberg class of 1991, learned of these orphans, most of whom were found abandoned on the streets and taken to the orphanage by the local police.
"I felt compelled to do something for them and sought more information to share with my home school group in the hope that we could help in some way," McKee said.
Upon learning that the orphanage is located in northern India near the Himalayas and has no heat, McKee knew her love and talent for quilting would provide a much-needed resource for the children.
She shared the story with Wittenberg's costume designer and costume shop manager Deborah Henderson, technical assistant for theatre and dance, a friend since her student days when McKee worked in the costume shop during her four years on campus.
Henderson said that she immediately thought of her current student employees and wanted to offer them the opportunity to make a difference in the world. She enlisted the help of Shiloh Aderhold, class of 2008 from Thomasville, N.C.; Kristina Tannenbaum, class of 2007 from Lake Jackson, Texas; Rebecca Sandlin, class of 2007 from Bonfield, Ill.; Halley Studer-Sweetman, class of 2008 from Layton, N.J.; Brittanie Daugherty, class of 2007 from London, Ohio; Lillie Philower, class of 2009 from Washington, D.C.; Bernice Lindqvist, class of 2010 from Rattvik, Sweden; Emma Andersson, class of 2010 from Djursholm, Sweden; Karyn Lesinski, class of 2010 from Toledo, Ohio; Kathryn Bruton, class of 2010 from Indianapolis, Ind.; and Grace Larkin, class of 2010 from Timonium, Md.
McKee offered to make 20 quilts for the orphanage and began making the quilt tops in early September. The students in the costume shop received four of the tops, which they made into quilts and then applied bindings. The first dozen were shipped in late November. The cost of shipping was borne by the Athens Church of Christ in Athens, Ga., making the project affordable.
The adoption officer at the Asharan Orphanage, operated by HOPE Foundation, sent pictures of the children wrapped in their new quilts and a note of gratitude.
"When the students saw the pictures of the children wrapped in the quilts they had made, they volunteered to quilt more," Henderson said. "They completed five additional quilts for the final shipment of eight before winter break."
By: Phyllis Eberts
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