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South Jordan Journal

Handmade quilts and hats donated to Ronald McDonald house by senior quilting group

Jul 25, 2017 05:21PM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

Members of the Sagewood at Daybreak Quilting Club make hooked hats to donate to the homeless shelters. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | [email protected]
When it comes to donating to folks in need, the quilting group from Sagewood at Daybreak takes its responsibilities seriously.
“I like doing stuff like this because I've been blessed and had so much in my life, and some of these people, they just can't help it,” said Helen McCarty, who earned the nickname “Popcorn Lady” after she began churning out around four to five beanie hats a week once she relearned how to do hooking with yarn.
The quilter’s club got off the ground two years ago when Carolyn Smetcer arrived at the senior residence living home and donated her quilting frames and yarn after spending a lifetime creating.
“I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have a quilt up,” said Smeltcer, who gathered a few of her friends together to tie quilts and chat. “It's been fun, and we've made, I would say, 40 quilts in the two years I've been here.”
At first, it began as a place for the ladies to get together, chat, learn new things about their fellow residents and do something that could keep them busy, or out of mischief, as the club agreed. But after giving away a few of the quilts to some of the staff, others offered to buy the quilts for family members and friends. The group found that they preferred to keep things strictly charitable and so has members of their staff, like Kelsey Meha, find organizations in need of help. 
“The biggest thing was it was something they could contribute to the community and it made us all feel good to do that,” said Meha, who has been at Sagewood for two years and organizes activities, exercise classes and events for the residents.
Meha believes everyone needs to have a purpose in their life, and when other staff members brought up the possibility of donating to those in the most need, she put it to the group to decide how best they’d like to contribute. The Sagewood ladies worked for several months and were able to donate more than 25 assorted beanies, including some for premature babies, five tie fleece blankets, four quilted blankets and several sets of infant mittens to the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City.
Their next project involves making as many yarn beanies as they can, filling them with hygiene products by July 13 and taking them to downtown Salt Lake and giving them to homeless men and women in preparation of the winter. The hygiene kits will include shampoos, soaps and toothbrushes donated by the Sagewood residents that the shelters can hand out.
“I like to be busy; I like to be constructive,” said Jodi Smith, who has been dubbed “Official Puff Ball Maker” by her friends because she makes most of the toppers that go on the hats. “I like to help people in need, so it just kind of fit my modus operandi,”
Even when a resident has difficulty making actual quilts or hats, the group is able to use their skills in other ways like rolling yarn into balls to expedite the creative process. Judy is one of the quilting group who couldn’t keep up with her previous life in quilting and crafts after a stroke but discovered that she could easily make loom hats with her lessened mobility and taught other interested ladies.
“There are a lot of people here who have a lot of really good talents,” Smith said.
The senior residents at Sagewood at Daybreak have also been visited by elementary students from Daybreak Academy in support of the Longest Day program, an intergenerational activity sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness and combat Alzheimer’s disease, along with dementia, which afflicts approximately 30,000 Utah residents.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease in Utah, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 801-265-1944 or visit
For information about donating and other ways to help the Ronald McDonald House, visit