VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Members of the Virginia Beach Modern Quilt Guild are using their talents to help comfort the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting.
"There isn’t a whole lot you can do personally for someone that this happens to. You can't go and give them a hug; the only thing we can do is try to offer a little bit of empathy and community by making a quilt for them," said quilter Mary Menzer.
The decision to make quilts for the families of the 12 people who died and the four people injured was made in the days following the shooting. Menzer says in the aftermath, her group felt like they wanted to do something to help those affected heal.
"This is a way that we feel that we can offer them some comfort - not as a reminder of the tragedy, but a reminder that the community felt something for them."
Making 16 quilts requires a lot of work, so the group took to their Facebook and other social media pages to ask people to help create the quilt's design. In less than a week, they had blocks sent to them from all over Hampton Roads and across the country.
"We have received from South Carolina, from Williamsburg, from Washington state and Georgia," Menzer said. "They just come in the mail every single day."
With the blocks piling up, the group has planed to get together this Saturday at St. Johns Baptist Church in Virginia Beach to start assembling the quilts. While the group is looking forward to putting the quilts together, they know it will be a difficult task.
"It’s a multitude of emotions," Menzer said. "Obviously, we feel sadness that this happened in our city, but we feel sad for the families of the victims and the people that were injured."
While it will be hard, the quilters hope their own sadness will show the families affected that they aren't alone every time they look at their quilt.
"There are so many people that want to show that they care, and this is how we quilters do it."
Menzer has been in touch with the city and says she will give the quilts to them once they are complete.