Shoalhaven's homeless warmed by Dianne Croft's quilting passion

HELPING HAND: Quilter Dianne Croft hands over her donation of 50 quilts to Shoalhaven PCYC activities officer Jay Allen.
HELPING HAND: Quilter Dianne Croft hands over her donation of 50 quilts to Shoalhaven PCYC activities officer Jay Allen.

WHEN avid quilter Dianne Croft was approached by a friend to donate some of her work to the partnership between the Shoalhaven PCYC and Bomaderry’s Salt Ministries to support the homeless her response was simple.

“How many do you want”.

Although Dianne runs a home quilting business at Worrigee, she ploughs all her profits back into making charity quilts.

In more than 40 years she estimates she has made and donated more than 3000 quilts to charity.

Her latest donation to the PCYC was 50 quilts, both full sized and children's.

“I’ve been doing it locally for about 12 years,” she said.

Avid quilter Dianne Croft.

“I use my leftover material or scraps to make into quilts that hopefully can be used to help people.

“People also drop off material to me and I convert it into quilts.

“I also have other women who come and help me. I’m part of the Baptist Church and last year we made 178 quilts for Syrian refugees.

“I suppose you could say I’m obsessed.”

Over the years she has supported various local organisations such as the women’s refuge for a number of years, DOCS and homeless men.

“Anything I can do to help people in need,” she said.

“If one of my quilts can make a person in need feel like someone cares for them or provides hope it’s worth it.

“Who knows, a simple gesture could change a person’s life.”

Each quilt takes Dianne about a week to complete and she admits the end result is often the luck of the draw.

“It can often depend on what fabric I have or am using at the time,” she said.

“I made one quilt and it had Dora the Explorer on it. It went to a homeless man. Not too sure he was that keen on it to start with, but it kept him warm.”

Her sewing obsession started when she was young.

“My mother was a dressmaker and as a child she would give me her leftovers and I just started sewing. It’s just gone from there,” she said.

Needy people are needy people. I just like to be able to help.

Quilter Dianne Croft

“You would think I’d be bored by this stage but I’m not. I just love making quilts and you can only have so many. What’s the point in storing them all?”

Although she does occasionally sit down and create a quilt for herself, she estimated 90 per cent of her work is for charity.

“I’m happy to sit in my little studio and work away and give quilts to people who need them,” she said.

“I don’t do it for qudos, I just like to be able to help people. I don’t care what religion they are, what colour or creed. If people are needy they are needy. And God said to help the poor and needy.”

If she was selling the quilts she estimates each would be between $80 and $100.

The Shoalhaven PCYC centre has come on board as a collection point for items to be used by Salt Ministries in its efforts to support homeless in the local area.

PCYC activities officer Jay Allen said the organisation was “blown away” by Dianne’s generosity.

“We were stunned by Dianne’s donation,” Jay said.

“Her work is beautiful. It is so generous.

“We have tried to work with Salt Ministries in their efforts to help homeless services in the Shoalhaven.

“Their outreach service travels the region in a van handing out food, clothing, blankets and other items.

“We have used our foot traffic in the club to support their efforts. The response has been amazing.

“We have had donations and are collecting non-perishable food, long-life milk, towels, blankets, sleeping bags, swags, gloves, scarves, beanies.

“But also sealed hygiene items like minis soaps, shampoos etc, things people need to live a normal life.”

The club is even collecting plastic resealable containers that can be used to serve meals, and Coles or Woolworths’ gift cards.