GRAND FORKS — Many of us wrap our own children and grandchildren in our arms to love them and keep them warm, but this week's Gems have the same love and compassion for children they have never met.
Some even call them angels.
On a cold afternoon, Nancy Klatt is working on a warm project.
"I love the fabric, the colors, patterns," said quilter Nancy Klatt.
She is working on a longtime passion of hers, a quilt.
"Seeing how it comes together is a lot of fun, just way too many pretty fabrics out there," Klatt said.
But who will wrap themselves in this quilt, Klatt will never know.
"Knowing there are kids leaving their homes in difficult situations, it is really a nice feeling," Klatt said.
Klatt is a member of the North Star Quilters Guild. One of their main projects each year is making quilts for Northeast Human Services Center.
They pass them along to foster kids and vulnerable adults in the area.
"Every kid deserves to be wrapped in a hug from us," said quilter Marilyn Hagen.
It's an outreach stitched closed to their heart. Quilters — ranging in age from college students to women in their 100s — have been sewing quilts for foster children in the area for nearly two decades.
Each quilt takes about 20 hours to fill with love.
All the materials for each quilt are purchased with the quilter's own money.
"Sometime they don't have anything when they are put there and we like to give them something to take with them," Hagen said.
"They are just angels on Earth," said Janet Burns of the Northeast Human Service Center.
This weekend, more than 100 quilts will be on display before they are packed up and given to area foster children.
It's the second batch of 100 they have donated this year and the gesture never goes unnoticed. The recipients often send thank you letters back to the guild.
"They just love getting these quilts and knowing someone went out of their way for them and know how special they are they received them," Burns said.
"She has stories about kids that graduate out of the program, that are no longer in foster care and still have the quilts they were given when they went into foster care," Hagen said.
Back at home, Klatt's sewing machine is still going full thread.
She knows there are more kids out there who will need a quilt next year.
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