Heating company teams with seniors to warm some hearts this holiday season


Tim Quinn enjoys a coffee with Heritage Lodge residents last week while checking the progress on a donation to Little Warriors. From left: Laura Kieser, Pat Allen, Tim Quinn, and Fie LaCroix.
– Stephen Dafoe photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A local heating company learned there is more than one way to heat a home or a heart last season. Quinn’s Plumbing and Heating teamed up with the residents of Heritage Lodge to make handmade blankets available to those in need. The 30 blankets were distributed through the Midstream Support Society and Alexander First Nation. This year, the Quinn family has once again partnered with the lodge, this time to provide blankets for the Little Warriors’ Wrapped With Love campaign that will provide quilts to victims of child sex abuse.

Mary Benson, Heritage Lodge’s program coordinator, approached business owner Tim Quinn last year for support to buy materials for the lodges blanket program. Quinn donated $500 to the cause, an amount that was matched by Marshall Discount Fabric in Edmonton; the combined generosity providing seniors with enough material to make and donate two-and-a-half dozen blankets.

The decision to help both years was an easy one for Quinn and his family. “It’s a nice tie-in with our company and the fact that we’re a heating company,” Quinn said. “To be able to provide the resources for them to provide the blankets allows the [heating] concept to run across the boards.”

After making the commitment to help the charitable cause in 2012, the cause became all the more important to the Quinn family. The passing of Quinn’s father-in-law, Bernie Westover, and his own mother, Eva Quinn, prompted the family to make the contribution ongoing.

Important lodge program

Heritage Lodge Program Coordinator Mary Benson said the blanket program was started in May of 2012 as a way to keep the seniors active and to get them together socially. A year and a half later and the program is continuing to provide residents with an enjoyable activity to participate in connection with some good conversation and an opportunity to help others inside and outside the community.

“If we can do something to help out the poor and the needy, we just feel great about that,” said resident Laura Kieser. Pat Allen agrees. “It’s satisfaction to know that you’ve helped somebody,” she said.

In addition to the charitable aspect of the program in 2012 and 2013, the seniors have some of their work available for sale to visitors to the lodge. The quilters charge enough to recoup cost, keeping them in materials to make more blankets and good times. They use a no-sew method that requires no stitching together of the materials. Blankets can be made in as quickly as 30 minutes if they are working in tandem, but the time varies. Speed is not the goal; quality product and quality time are the essential ingredients. “I’ve enjoyed it every since we started,” said resident Fei LaCroix, joking that Benson had to keep her busy or she’d get into trouble. “People come in and they want certain baby blankets or for dogs. Whatever.”

The no-sew quilters at Heritage Lodge are making 30 blankets for Little Warriors. They are hoping to have the project completed by Dec. 20. Benson said they chose Little Warriors this year because they were pleased to learn the organization had finally secured funding and a facility for their treatment centre for victims of child sex abuse. The intent is to pick a different charitable group each year.

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