BALD KNOB, AR (KAIT) – Volunteers have recently turned quilting into a money-making venture for the Bald Knob Senior Center.
The proceeds help offset some of the costs to run the senior center after it decided to operate independently.
The move comes a few months after the City of Bald Knob banned a weekly game of bingo at the senior center. Concerns about gambling had roiled the community after people began to compete for cash prizes.
Since the city cracked down on cash prizes, the senior center has severed ties with the White County Aging Program. It now operates all on its own, and center volunteers say the quilts have helped stitch together funds to stay open.
"A lot of people donate the fabrics and we have to buy some, and we have raffled them and sold them," Jeany Smith said about the quilts. "It keeps our center going."
Smith worked on a quilt Wednesday that will hopefully fetch more than $300. The senior center has used the pricey patchwork to help pay to keep its operations afloat.
"It's enabling us to furnish the food and to buy our supplies for our center," said director Pam Kirksey.
Kirksey says the center knew there was enough interest to make money off the quilts from past experience. Someone recently bought a quilt made from Arkansas Razorback t-shirts for $300, while another, more traditional quilt went for $275.
Kirksey says there's even a waiting list now from people wanting to have one made.
"We have orders also for two more quilts, two t-shirt quilts," Kirksey said, "and that's going to probably be around $600 that we will be making off of that."
The City of Bald Knob currently pays for utilities and maintenance at the senior center. Kirksey hopes the center will be able to cover those costs one day.
In the meantime, the senior center expects to get enough money from its quilts to hopefully buy new equipment, including an industrial quilting machine and an ice maker.
Volunteers like Pamela DeLong are now trying to piece together more quilts so that seniors like themselves will have a place to meet for years to come.
"When you come here, you get to be a family," DeLong said from her sewing machine. "That's what I see that's important about this place to stay alive and stay open. Anything we can do to keep it open is important."
The Bald Knob Senior Center is currently accepting orders for quilts. To place an order, simply call the center at 501-724-2004.