A quilt-making project on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday honored the late civil rights leader and produced 37 quilts for children involved in Community Hospice of Saratoga programs.

Snow swirled outside Monday, but the climate was warm and sunny inside Karigon Elementary School cafeteria as about 40 children and adult volunteers sewed and assembled quilt squares.

Each child in Karigon Elementary classes from kindergarten to fifth grade drew a design of their choice on a square for a class quilt. Teachers and staff also contributed squares.

“Martin Luther King Jr.’s message was all about character. Showing kids caring through this project, we also honor him,” said Ann Schwanda, PTA volunteer and coordinator.

Schwanda worked with Tracey Ropitsky, a fifth-grade teacher, to organize the quilt-making session. Volunteers came from all over Saratoga County to assist.

Ropitsky said the project is in its third year and ties in with the school’s Character Education lesson. “We tell children this is one small gesture that makes a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

All the cotton fabric for the quilt squares was donated. The volunteers worked at pinning squares to cotton batting and backing, then did the quilting. Sewing machines whirred as they sewed groups of squares together. By 1 p.m., several bright, colorful quilts were finished, folded and ready for binding.

Among the volunteers were members of Karigon PTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H members, Quilt North, the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church, the Shenendehowa Senior Center’s quilt group and the Binky Patrol, a blanket and quilt-making organization of sewers. Shenendehowa Rotary Club members made squares for their own quilt and provided funds for food and beverages for the “sew-in.”

“Does anybody need some ironing?” asked Meredith Chrimes, 8, a third-grader at Karigon Elementary. Her mother, Shari Chrimes, a Karigon PTA volunteer, sewed at a machine working on quilts with other PTA members.

All of the quilts will be given to children who are ill or to the Hospice Wave Riders program, which helps children who have lost a sister or brother or family member, said Schwanda. Last year quilts were presented to children who lost parents in the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.

The quilts will be on display during the Great American Read Aloud at Karigon Elementary in April and will be then will be delivered to Hospice. Shenendehowa High School teachers in child psychology classes joined in the project this year along with 60 students, who helped the elementary students in class by showing how to make designs.

While the quilting was going on, local Girl and Boy Scouts took care of the children of volunteers. Another group of Scouts sat at sewing machines learning quilting techniques working with Shenendehowa Senior Center master quilter Ruth Riddle.

“This is a very meaningful project. Kids learn what they do makes a difference. They get to see the impact their actions have through this effort,” said Dayle Gruder, founder of the Mechanicsville Chapter of Binky Patrol.