As senior associate director of admissions at Washington and Lee, Erin Hutchinson is not blessed with loads of free time. Between traveling around the country (and world) to meet with prospective W&L students and reading thousands upon thousands of applications for admission, she's got plenty to do.
But when Erin saw the now-familiar images of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy visited upon New York and New Jersey, where she used to live and work, she felt moved to action.
An accomplished quilter who not only practices the art but also blogs about it at "My Patchwork Life," Erin began began creating quilts for Sandy victims. At the same time, she wrote on her blog about Hurricane Sandy and the need for quilts.
On Tuesday, the Roanoke Times featured a front-page story about Erin's successful campaign to provide assistance to the region. The Associated Press picked up the Times piece and has run it in newspapers and on websites around the country.
As the Times reports, Erin had hoped that her blog might cause quilters who read it to send some squares her way. She expected she might get 80 or so squares, which would be enough for two quilts. The Internet being what it is, her appeal reached a much, much wider audience than she had expected. Thus far, she has received more than 1,400 squares from all over the world and across the U.S. That's enough for more than 33 quilts. Before she's through, Erin expects to provide as many as 50 quilts to Sandy victims. A local quilting group is helping with the work as well.
In November, when the W&L men's basketball team competed in the Rutgers-Newark tournament, Erin traveled with the team (which is coached by her husband, Adam Hutchinson) and delivered a couple of the quilts in person.
Asked about her commitment to the project when she has lots of other obligations (did we mention that she also takes and teaches karate and is den mother for a Cub Scout pack?), Erin told the Times: "I have two kids. I want to think the world will be supportive of them…. I want to think people will do the right thing."