Pam Buda, who owned Oak Street Fabrics, felt like more should be done to honor and assist select groups of people in California.
Lucky for her, she met three other quilting friends through a class at her shop that felt the same way. Six years ago, the quartet began meeting once a week to stitch together decorative quilts for veterans who would make the trip to Washington, D.C., for the Honor Flight.
An Honor Flight is an event made by a nonprofit organization that transports U.S. veterans to Washington to visit memorials of the nation's wars. The flight is at no cost to the veterans.
Buda and her team, Brenda Cram, Linda Bardwell and Glenda Hamilton, have been busy this year and have created 19 quilts, all 45-by-60 ,for such veterans.
While these quilts are donated to Honor Flight in Columbia and will be given to veterans throughout Mid-Missouri, the recipients' location doesn't matter to the quilters.
"All of us have close relatives in the service," Buda said. "So our hearts go out to veterans and their causes."
Hamilton knows of a close source who may know how important these quilts are.
"My husband actually went on the Honor Flight and got a quilt," she said. "I thought, 'How cool.' No one in California does something like this. So we can."
Bardwell added to this sentiment.
"We all watched the draft numbers for our husbands and boyfriends, so this is very near and dear to us." she said.
One group of veterans that especially inspires the Oak Street Quilters to keep sewing on are those who served in Vietnam. The ladies unanimously agreed that Vietnam veterans did not get the welcome home they deserved. For this, they said their efforts are doubly justified to repay each veteran the best and most creative way they can.
Veterans are not the only ones the Oak Street Quilters help out.
"We also make 36-by-45 inch small quilts for the Festival of Sharing," Buda said. "These quilts go to children who are going into foster care. We believe that, no fault of their own, these children need all the help we can give them. They're our future."
These quilts go into backpacks that hold essential items children may need. This program, Missouri Backpacks of Love, shared 430 packs to foster care children in 2018. The packs also enclose a toothbrush, toothpaste, T-shirt, stuffed animal, a comb, underwear and one pair of socks.
The ladies work together with the regional chapter of Festival of Sharing to fill these packs.
"It's amazing what the Festival of Sharing does," Buda said. "Churches of all denominations come together to help fill the backpacks."
Buda said while the quilts for veterans may not necessarily be for California veterans, the quilts that are made for the foster children stay in the California/Moniteau County area.
"We can't make all that's needed alone," Buda said. "Several ladies have donated to our cause, and we are looking for more help."