Quilters think in terms of "projects", and how they can help a people less fortunate. Project Linus, Quilts for Katrina, the Australian Bushfire quilt project, etc.
When you are the son of a quilter, husband of a quilter, father of a quilter, some of the craft begins to wear off on you. When you are a soldier, and are working to help a people who are without the basic necessities for daily living, and have all these quilting influences, the next thought is, "How can I help?"
Major Art LaFlamme began a project called Iraqi Bundles of Love (IBOL). Now stationed in Iraq, he has arranged for quilters worldwide to send him bundles of quilting supplies that are being distributed to the Iraqi homemakers!
From Art's blog
"Iraqi Bundles of Love is a short-duration project, set to last about six weeks (around Sept. 7, 2009), to surge fabric and sewing materials into the area around which I live in Iraq. It is timed to coincide with both Ramadan, and the departure of my units from Iraq.
It is intended to be a simple project, requiring little effort and little expenditures from those wishing to participate. It is based upon my assessment that sewing fanatics and quilters tend to have stashes that far exceed their actual needs, and that sewing fanatics and quilters are passionate both about sewing / quilting, and about sharing with others.
The general premise is this. I am in Iraq, and I can get mail through the US Postal System. Willing contributors can send to me a flat-rate box of sewing / quilting supplies, all bundled up. I'd open the box, pull out the fully-contained bundle, and hand of off (with others) to our counterparts in the Iraqi Security Forces (Army and others) or the local police, for them to distribute. The stated intent of this operation is to put sewing and quilting supplies into the hands of two types of recipients: locals who desperately need such things, and local sewing co-ops who have received grants or loans (typically to purchase sewing machines, rent space, etc).
As mentioned above, the deadline to help this effort is September 7, so that bundles arrive in time to be distributed by the end of Ramadan. They are arriving already, the US Postal Service delivers Flat Rate box after box. (They are up to 105 currently!)
It is one man (the Major) and his Tucson native battle buddy (the Captain), who tells one woman (his wife), who tells her blog readers (me), those readers take the information and run with it. It's gone viral (well, on a quilting scale anyways!). Isn't the internet an AWESOME thing?
Check-out some of these other blog entries about IBOL:
Kristin, his Wife
Sew Mama Sew
Pink Chalk Studio
A friend's blog
The Happy Zombie
I'm getting my bundle ready this weekend, what are you waiting for?