Hi-Line Quilters Stitch 50 Quilts for Gift of Life Housing

“The best kind of sleep beneath Heaven above

Is under a quilt, handmade with love.”

Stitch by stitch, a group of Hi-Line quilters are helping guests of Benefis Gift of Life Housing rest in comfort under new handmade quilts.

Sara Branom, Gift of Life Housing Coordinator, expected the Bethel Lutheran Quilters from Joplin to arrive with 20 quilts, but on the snowy, windy afternoon they arrived with an incredible total of 50 quilts.

The quilts be used to cover beds and on couches and recliners, so guests can be cozy as they recuperate.

“We like a homey atmosphere,” Sara said. “We want these places to feel welcoming, comforting, and restful, and the quilts help with that.”

The homemade quilts help patients and their families feel another step removed from the clinical environment of their treatment, Sara said. That helps patients feel at ease, even when they’re away from home.

Linda Backen of Lothair stayed in the Gift of Life Housing while her mother had cancer. She returned after her own cancer diagnosis, and now she stays there occasionally as she receives therapy for a hand injury. Initially, Linda brought her own quilt the 120 miles from home “to warm up the room.”

That got her thinking. What if all the people who stayed at Gift of Life had a cozy quilt to rest under? She suggested her idea to the Hi-Line quilters.

Donors to Gift of Life Housing (through Benefis Foundation) provide free, temporary housing to patients and families who need to be near the hospital during cancer treatment, wound care, because a child is in the Benefis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and for other medical issues.

“They needed quilts, and what a great turnout of quilts it was. I was so amazed,” Linda said.

Linda also brought some lap quilts contributed by Quilt with Class, a fabric shop in Shelby.

“Gift of Life Housing is a blessing,” Linda said.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s a little home-away-from-home, a feel-good home when you’re not feeling good.”


“We want these places to feel welcoming, comforting, and restful, and the quilts help with that”

–Sara Branom, Gift of Life Housing Coordinator


Jean Johnson of Joplin said the quilters sew from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday, with a potluck lunch. They’re joined by neighbors along the Hi-Line from Chester to Rudyard. The group has sewn together since about 1975, and this year they’re going to tally 600 quilts.

“We feel good giving it away,” Jean said. “They bring a lot of comfort, even locally. No matter if someone has 15 blankets, they’re still tickled to get a quilt. They make people happy and uplift them."