Lutheran World Relief and Mennonite Relief Sale

United States


Quilts bundled for shipping overseas at the Lutheran World Relief warehouse.
Photo by Bernhard Gallant for Lutheran World Relief.


Total amount realized by quilt sales at the 59th annual Pennsylvania Relief Sale Quilt Auction was $112,860.
Photograph by Kelsey Weaver.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of individual church-based quiltmaking groups in communities make quilts for charitable purposes but two large organized religious groups have major quiltmaking initiatives that have widespread engagement and international impact. Each year quiltmakers across the U.S. donate an average of 400,000 mission quilts to the Lutheran World Relief (LRW) to be distributed to overseas partners. In 2013, nearly 500,000 quilts were donated to the LWR Quilt Campaign and sent to partner organizations around the world which had requested them; even that many quilts did not meet all of the requests. Donors can even print out a special bar code to put on their shipment, then track where their quilts are sent. Annual Relief Sales featuring quilt auctions raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for relief efforts of the Mennonite Central Committee through members making and auctioning off quilts. During their research for Mennonite Relief Sale Quilt Project Marilyn Klaus and Sharon Sawatzky tracked amounts raised by individual quilts as well as overall number of donated quilts at many relief sales in the mid-2000s. One quilt alone realized over $44,000 at the 2003 Ontario Mennonite Relief Sale. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Relief Sale donated $478,000 to the Mennonite Central Committee.

Written by MacDowell, Marsha;Luz, Clare;Donaldson, Beth (2017)

MacDowell, Marsha; Luz, Clare; Donaldson, Beth. Quilts and Health. University of Indiana Press, 2017. Page 127-128.

Quilts and Health

  • Quilts and Health

    Documentation Project

    Michigan State University

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