It all started when guild members learned of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a nationally based organization whose mission it is to cover service members and veterans touched by war. Ozark Hills Guild loved the idea, but wanted more input on how the quilts were distributed. So, they struck off on their own.

The art of quilting — estimated at centuries old — is enjoying a resurgence of interest across the country and a local quilting guild is turning the pastime into a benevolent effort to support area veterans.

The Ozark Hills Quilt Guild is a hub of quilting activity as the group works toward making and donating as many as eight patriotic-themed quilts to veterans next November.

It all started when guild members learned of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a nationally based organization whose mission it is to cover service members and veterans touched by war. Ozark Hills Guild loved the idea, but wanted more input on how the quilts were distributed. There are many veterans in the lake area, guild members noted, and their efforts should be kept as local as possible.

So, they struck off on their own.

Now, guild members are working on quilts that will be donated during their regular meeting Nov. 13. It will be a full-blown event with family and friends of the honorees attending, and a special reception in their honor. Names of area veterans are being sought to receive a quilt, and can be sent to Josette Berry, Ozark Hills Quilt Guild president, at josette_28@yahoo.com.

The mission of the guild is to further the education and promotion of the art of quilt making and to expand the friendship circle shared by quilters; and to provide community service through quilting.

"Quilting is a big thing," Berry and Schnebly agreed. "It's a growing art."

So far, Berry estimates the build has donated from 20 to 25 quilts of various sizes per year since 2010.

The process

Once a patriotic theme is chosen, the construction process is distributed among the members. Sharon Schnebly, charity committee chairman, said a quilt is typically comprised of 20-24 blocks — each block is different and is assigned to a guild member at a regular meeting. The completed blocks are returned at the next regular meeting a month later and then pieced together — the most difficult part of the process. Batting is applied and a quilt back sewn in place.

And then the process starts again.

But Quilt Guild members find time to make as many as 25 quilts throughout the year, and these are donated to various charities around the lake including the Citizens Against Domestic Violence (CADV), Show Me Youth Christian Home near Barnett, the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity. Quilts are also sold at auction with funds used for quilting supplies. Average materials cost to make a quilt is $150, although Guild members often donate materials.

Kids quilts are the most popular.

Ozark Hills Quilt Guild meets the second Tuesday of each month at Osage Hills Baptist Church in Osage Beach. A charity sew begins at 1:30 p.m., with social time at 6 and a business meeting and program to follow at 6:30 p.m.

New members are welcome whether they sew or not. Berry and Schnebly said guild members are more than willing to help the less skilled. The various monthly programs teach new techniques as well.

The Ozark Hills Guild is one of several small guilds that comprise the Lake Area Quilt Network.