They may disagree on baseball and may be worlds apart in geography, but on April 9, 2016, Chicago’s North and South Side came together for a great cause.
A single event in two locations— an annual quilt-a-thon, hosted simultaneously on the opposite sides of the city, brought hundreds of women from area Greek Orthodox Churches to make blankets and quilts for hospitals and care centers that specialize in helping children.
The 15th annual quilt-a-thon was launched by Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and the Philoptochos Societies of the area parishes back in the late 1990s as a project of the Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS.
At the time, Georgia Varris, then president of the Metropolis Philoptochos, embraced the project and helped it grow into the successful ministry it is today.
When it was established, quilts were distributed to hospitals caring for children born with HIV but as time passed and medical advances led to less and less children being born with the disease, the program grew to support kids with cancer and other terminal illnesses.
The South Side quilt-a-thon took place at SS. Constantine and Helen Church, with the concurrent North Side event taking place at SS. Peter and Paul Church.
Both community centers were teeming with women, cutting, stitching, ironing, inspecting and folding quilts in a systematic and well-organized assembly-line of production.
The South Side quilt-a-thon is named in memory of Maria Pazoles, one of the original founders who worked tirelessly over the years to implement the program.
Photos from the Chicago Greek Orthodox Metropolis Quilt-a-Thon: