Her attention was long past any fear of what impact the raging blaze could have on her and her neighbours’ properties as they watched from the street as firefighters battled through the evening and into the night. Her focus turned to how could she help the elder men and women who lost so much to the fire.
Parsons, a blogger and quilter, used what she knew best to do something for the 21 residents of Baie View Manor who lost everything following their successful evacuation on the evening of April 6.
Following a post on Instagram, Parsons — a Nova Scotia native — said her online quilting community came together to first concoct the idea of making quilts for the displaced seniors and later to donate and make the quilts in an effort that is nothing short of amazing.
A blog entry, along with Facebook and Instagram posts, by Parsons led to an outpouring of support and generosity that reached across the peninsula, province, country and world.
Her request to send blocks for the quilts grew beyond anything she imagined.
People from almost every part of Canada, more than 30 states in the U.S., from the United Kingdom, and Australia sent blocks.
Within two days, she would be posting there was no need for additional blocks.
Turned out she had way more than was needed to complete the 21 quilts for the residents.
The generosity didn’t end though. People began sending backing fabric and batting. There were also donations of money to assist with the project.
“Because it was seniors, that resonated with a lot of people,” Parsons said. “People would say things like their mom was in a home for so many years and they knew how devastating it would have been had it happened to them.”
Based on the 42 blocks required to make a quilt, Parsons ended up with enough to make 80 quilts.
“It was insane,” she said. “When my husband would check the mail, sometimes it would take three trips to come from the vehicle to the house to bring in all the packages. Some days it took me an hour to open all the mail.”
Parsons is receiving help from quilters all over the Baie Verte Peninsula to make the quilts.
The 21 quilts for the displaced residents are now finished, and the distribution has started.
She hand delivered the quilt to one senior who now lives at the long-term care portion of the Baie Verte Peninsula Health Centre.
The remainder of the residents now reside in centres through central and western Newfoundland or in other places with family. Arrangements are being made to deliver the quilts.
With the abundance of materials she received, Parsons decided to extend her gesture to the employees who worked at Baie View Manor. All the firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians who were part of the response will also receive a quilt.
“Once there were so many quilts, it was thought about where are they all going,” Parsons said with a laugh. “To me, it just made sense because the firefighters, the RCMP, and the ambulance (personnel) were all on hand the night of the fire. They don’t get a lot of thanks.”
Parsons considers the project, and the generosity of so many people, to be amazing.
“It’s definitely a case of being blessed by setting out to bless someone else,” she said.
Parsons estimates it will take the quilters involved at least another couple of months to complete the quilts and distribute them to the remaining people.