Some quilts are passed from generation-to-generation, but the “quilt that keeps on giving” is one that will pass through the hands of many without ever having a permanent owner.

The quilt comes with a clause for its unique family of owners:  It is to be used to raise funds for worthy causes. Its red, white and blue heart motif visually defines its purpose:  to create a tradition of having a heart for others – especially children.

The concept for the giving quilt started with Waynesville Sixth Grade Center Principal, Marsha Smith and her grandson Zachary Woodring, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2.  Wanting to make a difference in Zachary’s world and the lives of other families affected by autism, Zachary’s mother, Heather, helped start the Southwest Missouri Walk for Autism in Springfield, Mo. Each year the Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Springfield, Mo., makes and donates a quilt to Zach’s Pack – a team of Zachary’s friends and family members who participate in the walk to raise public awareness and to raise funds to support autism research.

“Each year, the Piecemakers would create a new quilt, and each year, I would purchase several tickets,” Smith says. “I would always say that if I won the quilt, I would donate it to my school so that it could be raffled again to help kids. Then maybe whoever would win it after me could use the same quilt to earn money for another great cause, thus becoming the quilt that keeps on giving.”

Just like past years, Smith did not win the drawing for the quilt this year.

The winner, however, was so moved by Smith’s plan that she decided “to make my dream of being able to donate it to my school come true,” Smith says. True to her word, Smith has donated the quilt to her school. “So, it truly has already become the quilt that keeps on giving.”

Smith hopes the quilt’s winner will continue the tradition and become a benefactor. “My hope is that whoever wins this beautiful quilt will continue the tradition of paying it forward and will help another worthy cause,” she says.

Tickets are available for a donation of $1 each or six for $5, and are available at the Sixth Grade Center or from any sixth grade student.  All proceeds from the quilt drawing will benefit the Waynesville Sixth Grade Center’s LEAD (Leading our Education and Determining our Future) Program.  The drawing will take place on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Sixth Grade Center’s Family Bingo Night. For more information, call the school at 573-842-2300.