A public defender in Macon hopes to mend a large community issue, one stitch at a time. Cheryl Milton and members of Crossroads Quilt Guild are binding quilts for the homeless.
For Cheryl Milton, her love of fabric, colors, and sewing started out as creative outlet. “I've been a quilter for about ten years,” said Chief Cheryl Milton with the Mental Health Division of Bibb County’s Public Defenders Office. “I'm a public defender, so I have a very stressful job. I love it, but it's stressful.”
It's the community stresses of homelessness and mental illness that turned this relaxing activity into a way that Milton chooses to create change. “I see a lot of my clients that are homeless just walking the streets of Macon,” said Milton.
Months ago, the Salvation Army received hundreds of donated Delta Airline blankets. “They're the blankets you use on the plane, but they're very thin,” said Milton.
So stitch by stitch by stitch, Milton and other volunteers say they stuff each quilt with fabric, compassion, and hope. “They are people. Many of them weren't given a break as a child. The problems weren’t dealt with and they took them on into adulthood,” said Linda Hennessey, co-owner of Magical Stitches.
But like the 'scraps' used to make these quilts, Milton doesn't believe in throwing people away. “They are on the fringes of society and people just don't want to deal with them. I believe they can be productive members of society if they have the services that they need,” said Milton.
Milton is hoping that the work of their hands in the courtroom and the sewing room can bind together a new outlook for the community she serves.
So far, Milton and other volunteers have made more than fifty quilts. Even if you can't sew, Milton says you can still help. If you'd like to volunteer or donate materials to help make these quilts, call Cheryl Milton at 478-973-8046.