Ontario quilter honours late husband’s commitment to ending hunger

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


“Bob and I both thought it was important to help when you can,” says Betty King (right), who made and auctioned off a quilt in honour of her husband’s memory. (Photo: Submitted)

For more than 25 years, Betty and Robert King of Elgin County, Ontario, worked together to end hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

For many years, they hosted a growing project on their farm. When the project moved to new land, Robert helped procure inputs for the crops and Betty helped with fundraising and publicity.

After Robert passed away in 2014 though, Betty, 85, knew she couldn’t let his impact on the lives of hungry people overseas fade.

“Bob was very involved and committed to helping hungry people through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank,” she says. “He was so impressed with what the organization was doing.”

“We are so richly blessed here in Canada,” she adds. “You see so many stories and read so many articles about world hunger, and Bob and I both thought it was important to help when you can.”

She wondered how she might be able to honour Bob’s memory.

The idea for a quilt came to Betty during a quilting class at a local retirement home after finding quilt blocks portraying the floral emblems of Canadian provinces and territories.

“I thought I could make a quilt, and then donate it and raise money in his memory,” she says.

“I said to the ladies, ‘Can I take them if I donate them to charity?’” she says. “After that I took them home and just started making the quilt.”

Betty embroidered the quilt blocks, putting them together adding sashes and borders, while Charlene Epp of Hearts All ‘Round took care of the quilting. Once finished, King enlisted the help of her long-time friend Dave Clements and Foodgrains Bank Ontario regional representative Dave Epp to begin selling tickets to win the quilt.

The trio sold tickets at various events and gatherings, including local bazaars, farm shows, fish fries and even the odd stint in grocery stores.

After a year of selling tickets, they drew the winner this past fall. Altogether, Betty’s quilt initiative raised over $18,000 for the work of ending hunger.

“It went really well,” says Betty. “I’m very humbled by the generosity of people and their desire to help in this most worthwhile cause.”

For Clements, the success of the fundraiser speaks volumes to the kind of person Betty is.

“Betty has always been big in any kind of community or charity work,” he says. “She’s the kind of person to get involved with something and support it however she can.”

It also demonstrates the impact Canadians can have on the lives of hungry people overseas, he says.

“I’m just a firm believer that our reason for being is to love one another in any way possible,” says Clements. “One of the most important things in life is something to eat and clean water
to drink, and there’s a lot of people in the developing world that don’t have those basic developments available.”

Between the number of people who bought tickets and the amount of money raised, Betty says the quilt exceeded all of her expectations.

“Bob would be touched,” she says. “He would be so happy to know his memory is being carried on.”

– Shaylyn McMahon, Communications Assistant