By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) Victims Services Unit received 13 handmade children’s quilts from the Julie Vanderpool Quilters of Northeast Presbyterian Church, at RCSD headquarters, December 18. The quilts will be provided to children who are placed in emergency protective custody.

“This is another way in which the communities we serve and friends of the department are helping us as we come to the aid of – and protect – children who are otherwise being abused or neglected,” says Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “These quilts are not only beautiful, but they will be a comfort to little ones who, through no fault of their own, are in bad situations.”

Rhonda Vitali, a long-time member of the group, said the 13 quilts are the first of the children’s quilts the group will make and continue making for RCSD.

“We make charity quilts for various missions around the world,” said Vitali. “We’ve sent quilts to South America, Asia, Africa, really all over the world and here in the U.S., every state in the Union. Anytime there is a disaster, we send quilts. We try to keep quilts on hand for those who need comfort.”

They have provided quilts to Bethany Christian Services, Birthright of Columbia, Palmetto Place Children & Youth Services, and Hannah House.

“We now average about 75 quilts a year made by 10 to 12 quilters in our group,” said Vitali.

The quilters are named for the late Julia A. Vanderpool who founded the group in 2001.

Pictured from left to right are Captain Heidi Jackson, Sheriff Leon Lott, Rhonda Vitali, and Sergeant Nina Mauldin.