Quilting for the greater good

Quilt on bed

This queen-sized quilt is being raffled off by the College of Forestry as part of the OSU Food Drive (contributed photo)

In the 15 years that she’s been quilting, Terralyn Vandetta has yet to make a quilt for herself. All of the intricate, beautiful pieces of fabric art she’s made have gone out the door for a higher cause, to raise funds for things she’s passionate about. And this month, OSU staff and faculty have a chance to win one of two quilts Vandetta made to raise funds for the annual OSU Food Drive.

Anyone familiar with the annual food drive might recognize Vandetta’s name, as she is usually at the front of the room during the award ceremony each year, receiving multiple awards for the College of Forestry, which has dominated the food drive for the last dozen years. In 2001 they took the “Top Banana” award away from the College of Agricultural Sciences and they haven’t looked back, raising the equivalent of 56,962 pounds of food last year. The annual quilt raffle is just one of the ways in which departments within the college raise money each February for the drive.

“There’s always a friendly competition within the college,” between departments, but the ultimate goal, Vandetta said, is to raise as much money and food as possible for the Linn-Benton Food Share. The weekly soup drives are one way in which departments try to out-do each other, but faculty and staff also make sizeable donations through direct deposit contributions ($5,508 last year), which Linn-Benton Food Share administrators say is the best way to make a difference.

The quilt drive began five years ago, as an effort to raise money in a new way. The first two years, about five quilters within the college worked on quilts made from donated fabric, which Vandetta termed ‘potluck quilts’ because of their eclectic appearance. But since then, quilts have been made by one or two individuals, and this year, Vandetta made both quilts, which took her on average 40 hours per quilt.

Terralyn with award

Terralyn Vandetta in 2009, receiving the Top Banana award for the College of Forestry, which has consistently outpaced all other colleges during the OSU Food Drive since 2001. (photo: Theresa Hogue)

“The raffle motivated me to do something with fabric I’d bought five or six years ago,” she said. “I had a cause to focus on. The food drive and the thought of making money for it definitely is what motivated me to finish the quilts.”

The two quilts she donated are a lap quilt made with batik fabric, and a Queen-sized quilt with a bear paw pattern. She used the help of some mathematically inclined co-workers in the College of Forestry Computing Resources to help her lay out the larger quilt.

Eventually, Vandetta will make a quilt for herself, maybe by next winter. But for now, she’s happy to know that her 80 hours of effort was well spent, and she’s sure she’ll be making more quilts in the future.

“Not everyone in the college who wants one has won yet!”

To see photos of the quilts and find out more about buying raffle tickets: http://deansoffice.forestry.oregonstate.edu/2013-quilt-raffle

For a full list of all events happening around campus in support of the food drive, go to: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/events/food-drive/calendar-events and check out OSU Today each morning for new events.

~ Theresa Hogue

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