Pelican Fund to debut traveling quilt at Harvest Festival

Published in Newburyport Daily News

By Jack Shea, Oct 2, 2018

NEWBURYPORT — This fall, a Pelican Intervention Fund quilt will make its way through Greater Newburyport as a symbol of hope for people struggling with addiction.

The Pelican Intervention Fund, established through the Essex County Community Foundation in 2015 by Kim Keene, her husband, Steve, and Elizabeth McCarthy, helps to fund 12-step, extended-stay addiction recovery programs for Greater Newburyport residents.

The quilt, created by Old South Presbyterian Church parishioner Sue Emanuelson, features a large depiction of the Pelican Intervention Fund’s logo of a soaring pelican, surrounded by an eclectic border of soft colors and tranquil textures.

The quilt will debut in Market Square at the Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday and Monday, and will spend the following weeks making stops at local libraries, senior centers and churches. At each location, the public can purchase raffle tickets to win the quilt, with proceeds going to the Pelican Intervention Fund.

The winning raffle ticket will be drawn Nov. 23 during the Festival of Wreaths and Trees at Old South Presbyterian Church.

Emanuelson first met Keene and her Pelican Intervention Fund co-founders last year at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market. She invited them to be the benefactor for the church’s 2017 Festival of Wreaths and Trees, which raised $2,700 for the organization.

But for this year’s festival, Emanuelson said she wanted to take her support for the fund a step further. She decided to make the quilt and would like to see it become an emblem for the group’s mission.

“I’d love for the quilt to be a symbol of hope, to let people know they aren’t alone and that there’s somebody out there that is available to talk to,” said Emanuelson, who also touched on the prevalence of addiction.

“Probably 100 percent of the time, when you talk about addiction, people will say they know someone who is affected,” Emanuelson said. “There is such a need to make people aware that addiction is very much part of every community. It doesn’t discriminate who it’s going to grab.”

Since the Pelican Intervention Fund began, it has raised over $200,000 to pay for 36 Greater Newburyport residents to participate in long-term residential recovery programs. Keene highlighted the importance of the community in the nonprofit’s efforts, noting that every dollar the group has collected has come from the kindness of local residents, businesses and organizations.

“All these churches and businesses that do these events for us, we couldn’t do what we’re doing without it because we’re not receiving state funding,” she said. “Our community is our source of funding, whether it’s individual people, churches or businesses. Really, we’re so grateful.”

Keene said she thinks traveling to nearby communities with the eye-catching quilt will help the Pelican Intervention Fund further bring awareness to its cause, which is to help men and women struggling with addiction by providing them with access to long-term residential 12-step programs.

“I think what we’re doing resonates with almost everyone, and hopefully the quilt will make some people stop and look,” she said.

Tickets will be available at the Pelican Intervention Fund’s table in Market Square at the Fall Harvest Festival for $5 each or three for $10.