Volunteers answer the bell for SOQS


Last updated 7/11/2023 at 10:04am

Photo by Bill Bartlett

Volunteers worked in the kitchen for Marguerite Café, a fundraiser for the philanthropic PEO program.

Around 6 p.m. on Friday, phone texts were interrupting dinners around Sisters with an urgent plea for 25 more volunteers to hang quilts the next morning at 7 a.m. Within 30 minutes the cadre was rounded up, all first time donors of time to the event. Armed with nothing more than a desire to serve their community they met team leaders Saturday morning at the show's storage and assembly operation on Sisters Park Drive.

In military-like precision, off they went with quilts, clothes pins and ladders in hand to hang more than 1,000 quilts in under two hours. As they hustled to accomplish the mission they were oft interrupted by visitors, hundreds of whom were prowling the streets by 8 a.m. Tourists wanted to know more about the particular quilt being hung at the moment or the show in general.

Now those same volunteers were welcome ambassadors as well, as they juggled promoting Sisters and straddling ladders in some cases nine feet off the ground.

It takes over 300 volunteers to run the show. They perform all variety and manner of services seemingly tirelessly and joyfully. Many were obvious by their printed red t-shirts. Most were just regular looking folk with broad smiles and enthusiastic attitudes.

It was the same over at Quilters Affair which ran from Monday through Friday at the high school as volunteers greeted, guided and fed hundreds upon hundreds of attendees. The ripple effect added to the coffers of several volunteer groups.

One, the Sisters High School Outlaws Volleyball team charmed attendees providing sherpa duties. With shopping carts on loan from Ray's Food Place, team members, some 30 in all, rotated in carrying sewing machines and other occasionally heavy or bulky quilting gear and materials from the vast parking lot to the classrooms.

Attendees heaped praise and gratitude on the good natured student athletes who provided the service for a stipend from Quilters Affair. It was a major fundraiser for the team.

Inside the school's commons area, PEO, a Sisters women's philanthropic educational group ran the Marguerite Café as their primary fundraiser which earns enough from the event to fund a $2,500 yearly scholarship to a Sisters High School female graduate.

About 20 of the group's members baked cookies and sweet breads as well as providing hundreds of breakfast and lunch wraps, soups and salads each day.

Their lunches are crucial to keeping quilting students on schedule as there really isn't enough time for most to leave campus, get to town for vittles and back on schedule.


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