The Quilt Project began in early 2004 by Peggy Chandler, the mother of Truth Be Told founder Carol Waid. Carol interviewed her mom and asked what inspired her to want to make quilts for the women of our program. Peggy said, “I love them, even though I don’t know them, because Carol loves them.”
She went on to say, “In 2003, when I went to a graduation at the prison, I was just recovering from a stroke. When I walked into the big gym I was greeted with smiles and hugs and the women were saying, “I want to hug ‘Carol’s Momma.’ They didn’t know me, but they loved me because they loved Carol. I remember I stood in that circle of love and wanted to make sure I did not miss one hug. As I sat through the graduation and heard their stories, I realized that they were just women, just people, who got into trouble and it could have easily been me.”
Carol asked Peggy what message she wanted to pass on to those that have been blessed with a quilt and for those that have yet to come. Thoughtfully she replied, “When I make my quilts there is a hug in every stitch. Every time you look at the quilt, let it be a reminder that someone is thinking of you and pass this love onto someone else.”
Carol also asked her why each quilt was different. “Many of my quilts come to me in a dream. I wake up with the pattern all laid out in my mind. I get up and go to my sewing room and draw out the pattern and then I just sew.” She continued with a humble response, “It’s important to me that each quilt is different, because no two women are the same. They are all special and unique in their own way, so I want their quilts to be like them. When I make these quilts I don’t ever think of them as women that have been to prison. I think of them as women that are trying really hard to make something of their lives.” She ended our interview with this: “I am passing on my love to them.”
In 2010, after his retirement, Carol’s dad joined in on the Quilt Project. Doyle said, “I started because I didn’t have anything else to do, then I found out that I was pretty good at it.” He stays committed to the project because he enjoys how much each woman appreciates the quilt. “I am amazed that it is such a big deal to them,” he said.
Quilts are gifted to graduates of the Truth Be Told Program that have reached a 3-year milestone of living beyond prison and have stayed connected with the Truth Be Told community.