West Columbia, SC 09/21/2022 - As Riverbank Elementary teacher Kristin Mixson watched events unfolding in war-torn Ukraine, she knew she wanted to do something to help.
So Mixson, an avid quilter, turned her hobby into a mission of encouragement. She put out a call among her fellow Riverbank Elementary colleagues for help to make a quilt. Soon, 50-plus volunteers at the Lexington Two school were signed up and ready to get to work.
“Quiltmaking is a hobby I enjoy. I have made quilts for those who have lost loved ones, and the quilt brings comfort to them,” Mixson said. “Perhaps receiving a quilt would bring encouragement to those affected by the war.”
They selected a sunflower theme, since Ukraine is a large producer of sunflower seeds and oils. It’s also the national flower.
“Using Crayola crayons on the fabric is a unique twist when creating a quilt, but given that we are a school full of elementary educators, I thought it would be fun and colorful,” Mixson said.
Riverbank staff members worked on their own, coloring sunflower-themed patches during free time on nights and weekends to contribute to the quilt. The many volunteer hands ended up creating enough patches to make three quilts, which Mixson completed.
One of those quilts will be delivered this Thursday, September 22, to sister school Boiling Springs Elementary, which has a teacher from Ukraine and is serving an estimated 20 children from the country this school year.
Riverbank Elementary is giving the quilt to the Spartanburg Two school in the Upstate “to brighten its hallways and spirits,” Mixson said, adding that the other two quilts were given to family friends of Riverbank Elementary staff members with ties to Ukraine.
The project is just one way that Riverbank Elementary shows its caring heart in helping others.
“As a result of this project, many people were given the opportunity to share their love and support for others who are in a painful and heartbreaking circumstance,” Mixson said. “We hope those impacted by the war may be cheered when seeing these quilts, knowing others are standing with them.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Kristin Mixson poses at Riverbank Elementary with the 3 quilts made by 50-plus staff members at the Lexington Two school.