Wrapping Smiles
Eight Schoodic Women Make Quilts for Children Abroad

 By Megan Moshier

Supplies used by members of the Gouldsboro United Methodist Church are made into quilts that are sent to children overseas following plastic surgery.

 Marion Taylor works on a quilt.

Martha Gordon, Eleanor Foss, Marion Taylor, Grace Gerrish and Janis Brady enjoy coffee and tea after a recent quilting session. Sharon Clark works in the background.

Janis Brady carefully puts the finishing touches on a quilt.

PHOTO BY denise farwell

When members of Gouldsboro’s Methodist Church learned that babies in Asia and South America were being wrapped in disposable paper and plastic blankets after facial plastic surgery, they and embraced Project Wrap-A-Smile in a big way. 

 Grace Gerrish of Winter Harbor said eight area women have met weekly since January to make crib-sized quilts, all in the name of charity that helps babies worldwide. “We like to get together and do outreach programs,” Gerrish said. “This allows us an opportunity to meet, at least every two weeks, and do something that we all enjoy, at the same time, helping people,” she said.

On the heels of a Rotary sponsored effort, Rotaplast, Terry Hodskins, veteran quilter and Maine Rotarian from Wells, spearheaded an effort to send handmade quilts to hospitals in Asia and South America, aptly naming the project, Wrap-A-Smile.

Since introducing Wrap-A-Smile in September 2001, Hodskins has collected more than 2,500 quilts, from as far as Hawaii, Alaska and Australia. Hodskins, who has devoted her retired years to the mission, said it has turned into a full-time job. She answers each inquiry, sends a handwritten thank-you note for each quilt she receives, and logs the quilts when they arrive and are later shipped overseas.

“I never dreamed anything like this could happen,” Hodskins said, conceding that when it comes to labeling each quilt with a personalized tag and packing them to be shipped, she does call for help.

Rotaplast, a San Francisco-based organization, sends teams of American surgeons, nurses and other volunteers roughly a dozen times a year to remote villages in China, Bosnia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, performing up to 100 surgeries on each visit. Now, teams arrive toting hundreds of baby quilts to leave with children recovering from surgery. Hodskins said she is grateful for the many quilters worldwide who have embraced her effort.

If anyone wishes to help but cannot quilt, Hodskins said that the group often receives donations to help defer shipping costs. The group also is always in need of fabric and quilt batting. For more information, Wrap-A-Smile and Hodskins can be reached at 31 Chickadee Lane, Alfred 04002 or call her at 324-3390.

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