“Seabreeze Quilters came out of something I needed for me,” says Kim. She started Seabreeze Quilters because she needed a creative and social outlet.
Sixteen years on, the group supports communities in Victoria and beyond by doing something they enjoy.
“Seabreeze Quilters will tell you that my biggest skill is connecting people,” says Kim. The Quilters were asked by a local woman if they could make adult bibs. Her daughter needed them but they were expensive to buy. A Seabreeze Quilter bought specialised equipment and made her 25 bibs. It’s connections like these that Seabreeze Quilters makes possible.
Fourteen years ago, Seabreeze Quilters partnered with Women’s Health West, now known as GenWest, to donate care packages. Only later did Seabreeze Quilters realise they’d misread GenWest’s initial instructions. Instead of only choosing a few things, they’d provided every item GenWest needed for the packages. It’s now a tradition for the Quilters to gift care packages for women in GenWest’s crisis accommodation.
The group gift their quilts to children using GenWest services, and to other groups who distribute them or use them to raise funds.
In 2021, the Quilters made 450 gifts for 165 Meals on Wheels recipients. They also put together 200 parcels for recipients and volunteers who deliver the meals. Each Seabreeze Quilter contributed something - their fabrics, time and passion.
For their efforts, the Quilters were awarded the runner-up prize in the COVID-19 Support and Connection category at the Volunteering Awards 2021.
The group also raises funds for those in need. After returning from a trip to Uganda, Kim told Seabreeze Quilters about children in orphanages who needed support. They now provide financial support to educate two Ugandan children.
Kim encourages potential volunteers to shop around. “Look for volunteering in unusual places,” Kim says. “There are lots of opportunities out there.”
Kim has seen how volunteering benefits her as well as the community. Many Seabreeze Quilters have become lifelong friends. If a Seabreeze Quilter is going through a hard time, another will put their arm around them. Attending meetings isn’t compulsory, but if someone doesn’t show up, another member will reach out and ask if they’re all right.
Kim notes how fulfilling it is to reflect on the connections made over more than 40 years of volunteering. “I volunteer because it fills my heart.”