Courtney Sands wanted to make a colorful “rag quilt” — about the size of a baby’s blanket — for a child on the local Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.

After talking about the project with her friend, Denise Saubers, who had some quilting experience, the two Ottawa women decided to make multiple rag quilts. Eight months later, the project has yielded 74 rag quilts for needy children whose names are on the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, located in the customer service area at Walmart Supercenter, 2101 S. Princeton St., Ottawa.

“People adopt children in the families [and purchase Christmas items for them], but I have some that bring me food also, even turkeys,” Teresa Powers, who has coordinated the Angel Tree project for about 15 years, said. “The concept for the tree is to help families out when they are in need of help for Christmas. It’s not intended to be their whole Christmas, just a help.”

As of Friday, the Angel Tree project included 160 angels, with more than 40 angels still available for adoption, Powers said.

“We would love to have people adopt the 40-plus angels left on the tree and buy a clothing item or toy for them for Christmas,” Powers said.

The Salvation Army also is having a Pack the Truck toy drive for the youths on the Angel Tree Dec. 8 at Walmart Supercenter, Powers said.

“It is an event where patrons can pick up a wish list from us and then go into the store and purchase it and return it to us,” Powers said. “These gifts would be used for the Angel Tree.”

Anyone interested in participating in the Pack the Truck drive can pick up a wish list from Salvation Army volunteers who will be standing outside Walmart’s main entrance, near the bell ringers, on that Saturday, Powers said.

“They can go inside and shop for the items on the list and bring them back to us by the entrance,” Powers said. “They don’t have to wrap them or anything. It’s the same concept as buying canned food and then putting the cans in a collection barrel, only this one is for toys for the Angel Tree.”

Anyone with questions about adopting an angel, the Pack the Truck drive or donating food can call Powers at (785) 229-8010.

And now many of those youths also will have a snuggly rag quilt to go along with their toys, thanks to the efforts of Sands and Saubers. The two women also credited Powers and Saubers’ mother-in-law, Wanda Canfield, Iola, with helping make the quilts, along with numerous other volunteers who donated supplies and assisted with the quilts.

Sands and Saubers said their employer, Cargotec Solutions LLC, 415 E. Dundee St., Ottawa, donated money to purchase some of the materials.

And the women said Chris Campbell, owner of Chris’ Corner Quilt Shop, 3593 U.S. 59, Ottawa, played a key role in the project, including making her shop available for two days for volunteers to work on the quilts.

The quilts had to be washed once they were completed, and Sands said Dick Martin, owner of Mrs Kleen Coin Laundry, 1120 N. Main St., Ottawa, donated that portion of the project.

“I thought a rag quilt would be a nice gift, and it just grew from there,” Sands said. “It’s been a long project, but it was worth it.”

Sands said anyone who would like to donate flannel for additional rag quilts can leave the material at Chris’ Corner Quilt Shop.

Powers credited Sands, Saubers, Canfield and other quilting volunteers for making this Christmas special for a group of girls and boys.

“This was a wonderful project,” she said.

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at