WAUKEE, Iowa — As a child of the Depression, 93-year-old Wilma Bentley of Waukee knows how to “make do.” She weaves stories, as she stitches quilts by hand.
She’s spent the past three years putting this one together. “I was trying to figure out what I could do with it and not offend somebody,” she says with a laugh, “because they all wanted it!”
Her six children and their children already have similar masterpieces, so Wilma decided this one needed a different home. “And I thought maybe I could use this as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army.”
When she was a little girl, her father died. She and her brother and mother moved in with her father’s family. “Somehow my grandma was able to pull it all together and keep us as an extended family in this apartment,” she remembers. “We all lived together in a cold water flat – that’s a place with no heat – and it came around Christmastime and there wasn’t any money, but the Salvation Army sent out a message on the radio that you could come in and get gifts for needy children.”
Wilma’s grandmother sent one of her uncles down to get gifts. She never forgot it, and as she grew up, she always tried to give back. “And once when my business was doing well I was able to put a crisp $100 bill in one of those pails and I can’t tell you how wonderful that made me feel!”
Today, a crisp $100 bill will buy about five toys. The hope is that Wilma’s quilt goes for a lot more than that because the Salvation Army needs the extra help this year. “Truly this quilt is going to make an impact on someone’s life,” says Major Butch Frost, “whoever purchases it – if you learn the story behind it – this quilt is made by love.”
You can bid on Wilma’s quilt on the Salvation Army’s Facebook page through December 21st at 5:00 p.m.