A warm quilt touches children's lives at the Child and Family Services in Victorville with items donated by the Desert Winds Quilt Guild.


Peggy Withers, a member and charity co-chairperson of the guild, said children often come in to CFS with nothing and are insecure without their parents.


"There's something about a quilt that just makes you feel warm and loved and none of us are free in this world from having that happen to us or our family," Withers said. "So just to step in and know that we can help one little child feel better (is) very heart warming and sometimes I look at it that this quilt may be the only hug or love that this baby ever gets to feel."


The guild makes and donates quilts, tote bags, stuffed animals and pajamas and provides toiletries to CFS, according to California State University San Bernardino student Ana Gracian.


A class project called Help Keep a Child Warm was started by Gracian, Hesperia resident Ashley Janowski, Samantha Martinez and Esquizel, who are all social work students, to help the guild's cause with monetary and material donations for out of pocket cost, and to get the community involved, according to Gracian.


Children who come to CFS have nothing or are wearing clothes that are dirty, and sometimes are brought in on a cold night with nothing to provide warmth. Gracian said giving them a quilt keeps them warm and comfortable while they wait to be placed.


The child takes the new quilt, known as a "transition gift," which they choose themselves, and it belongs to them, said CFS Deputy Director Secretary Linda Saddoris, who thanked six different groups for donating quilts.


"They are the (ones) most at risk," student Susana Esquivel said. "They are dependent on others, they can't defend themselves, they can't go out and search for those things by themselves and we are in a lot of need for people that are willing to help these kids since they can't do it by themselves."


A "major charity gifting focus," the club has provided quilts for children at CFS for 15 to 20 years, guild charity co-chairperson Cindy Briggs said.


"We're just a bunch of probably 50-plus ladies now that just want to give back to our community," said Briggs. "We want to keep that light burning that we are contributing in some way and it's a small way, even if we don't see the results, to just supporting and encouraging our community."


The guild has collected 29 quilts, eight tote bags, 38 pieces of clothing and 38 stuffed animals, according to Gracian. The students have collected $470 in donations so far.


Janowski said children in the system who've been removed from their homes are often unable to bring their possessions, so the quilts hold even more meaning.


"When a social worker gives (the child) a quilt that these ladies have made, it becomes their possession something that they can own, have ownership too and can connect with something that they can have of their own instead of not having anything at all," Janowski said.


The guild also donates to local veterans, at parades and through the Don Ferrarese Charitable Foundation, with it a challenge to find local veterans homes to donate to, Briggs said.


The guild meets at 9:30 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Percy Bakker Community Center, 9333 E. Ave. For more information, contact Briggs at 760-948-4163, visit www.DesertWindsQuiltGuild.com or to donate go to www.GoFundMe.com/DesertWindsQuiltGuild.