Lehi couple determined to wrap Ukraine with quilts

Apr 7, 2022, 6:33 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 12:49 pm

LEHI, Utah – During the past month, many Utahns have stepped up to offer support and aid to the Ukrainian people.  A couple in Lehi, with new ties to Ukrainians, has started a movement to wrap Ukraine with quilts.

More than 100 of those quilts are already on their way to Poland to be given to Ukrainian children.

The project is called Wrap Ukraine with Quilts, and that’s exactly what they plan to do.

The couple believes a quilt is more than a blanket because there’s always a story and compassion behind it.

“There’s nothing like wrapping yourself in a beautiful quilt,” said Gina Halladay, a long-time quilter.  “There’s always a story behind the quilt, and I think as a quilt maker, you’re thinking about that person you’re making the quilt for as you’re stitching it.”

The Halladays already have several hundred quilts in their home, in different stages of preparation to be sent to Poland.  The people making and donating those quilts know they will soon be wrapped around Ukrainian children.

“A Ukrainian refugee who wants to be seen, and loved and wrapped in a quilt,” she said.

Their Ukrainian connection began in August, when her husband, Hal, went on a cycling trip in Ukraine.  A chance meeting led Hal to Lviv, where he put on several leadership workshops.

When he left Ukraine, his relationship with the Ukrainians was mainly professional.  But, when Russia invaded their country and the war broke out, it became personal.

Nataliya, a woman from the workshop, reached out to Hal in an email.

Gina Hallady (KSL TV) The Halladay's connection with Ukraine started when Hal toured the country by bike. (KSL TV) Hal Hallady (KSL TV)

“She started sending me pictures of her family, and said that she was going to try to flee Ukraine,” he said.

Soon, Nataliya and her kids were at the border, escaping their homeland with so many others.

“She and her friend took these kids, and left their husbands to stay and fight,” Hal said.

The Halladays were stunned.

“We looked at that photo and thought, these kids have nothing, what can we do for them?” Hal said.

They believe quilts warm the soul as much as the body, And knew they could make a difference if they just got their project started.

“As much as military aid and food and water and shelter, they also want to know that that they are being seen and that their existence matters to the world,” Hal said.
They put together a website and put out a call for quilts.

“I had a quilt guild up in Logan who made 20 quilts in one day, and they said we’ve got 30 more on the way, and that’s just how quilters are,” Gina said.

They have received more than 500 quilts already from quilters in more than a dozen states.

Hal boarded a plane bound for Poland Thursday afternoon to hand-deliver the first 120. The quilt makers will even know when their precious gifts have arrived.

“We wanted to find a way to connect the quilt donor with the people receiving the quilts,” Gina said.

They put a QR code on each quilt.  The recipient can scan the code, and connect with the quilt maker if they like.

“If they want to connect, through Facebook, or social, or emails they can.”

Building human connections through thoughtful humanitarian aid.

“They want to know that someone in the world is caring about them,” Gina said.

“Now, it’s more than quilts. It’s also connecting people around the world and that’s really important,” said Hal.

They are accepting quilts and donations through their website.

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Lehi couple determined to wrap Ukraine with quilts