MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the Volunteer state, community members are always finding ways to help one another, especially when it comes to homelessness.
A Memphis program is helping women deal with the emotional toll homelessness can take on those faced with it.
Each stitch on a quilt is a mark in time. It’s a representation of the lives affected by Blues City Cultural Center’s Sew Much Love program.
“I come from a line of women. They call themselves quilt or peacemakers,” said Trinka Matthew, a program volunteer.
“Those, believe it or not, were probably reasons that women require less therapy, because that was therapy,” said Patricia Jones-Brown, lead seamstress.
It is a culture that goes back years.
“There’s a history behind quilting. Women, years and years, used quilting as a way of finding out issues, information in the communities, people who need help in the community,” said Carolyn Matthews, Blues City Cultural Center artist.
In their quilting circle, the help is in fighting homelessness. Sew Much Love helps women cope with the trauma of being homeless.
“Giving the women an outlet, a place where they can come and just relate, relax, release their emotions,” said Tanesa Boyd, a program volunteer.
It is also a place to empower change in their lives.
“I’m always looking for an avenue to help them see their situation from a place of strength even though they may be in the direst straits,” said Matthews.
Carin Malone has experienced homelessness. She is now the program’s teaching artist.
“I was once unhoused myself, so I could identify with some of the issues they’ve probably already gone through or have gone through,” said Malone. “I’m coming back every single time to help. It doesn’t matter where in the world, no matter when, I’m always coming back because I have been there.”
Carol Sharpe has also faced homelessness. “That to me is the best part of life, is not knowing what support you can find in the places that you’d think you’d never find them,” said Carol Sharpe, a program member. "It’s just a program that really helps you understand life.”
The quilting circle is a place to find peace in sewing much love.