KOKOMO, Ind. – Most people would see a stack of old T-shirts as something to drop in a recycling bin.
But for Danielle Runda, the pile was a potential symbol of hope — it just needed to be stitched together.
Runda, Indiana University Kokomo’s student records supervisor, has participated in the campus Angel Walk, a fundraiser for the Family Service Association of Howard County’s domestic violence shelter. She’s collected T-shirts from the event as a participant for the past several years.
As a lifelong sewer, Runda decided to put her creative skills to use, working with her mother, Tina Race, to make a T-shirt quilt.
“The walk meant a lot to me as a student, and now as an employee,” said Runda, who lives in Kokomo. “I’ve had friends who were in domestic violence situations, and to be able to do something in a different way to help support the FSA and our community is important to me.
“It’s a different way to use the T-shirts,” she added. “You might wear it a few times and then put it away, but now it can be used all year long in a different way.”
The quilt, bordered in purple, includes fronts and backs of eight shirts, with the oldest dating back to 2012, mostly featuring teal, purple and white color themes. Runda said as they pieced it together, she and her mother were careful to have shirts with angel wings, a symbol for the walk, in the four corners.
The completed quilt was displayed during the 2021 edition of the Angel Walk last month, and then donated to the FSA, to be displayed in the domestic violence shelter as a reminder of the community’s support.
“The quilt is a symbol of hope to those we serve,” said Tracy Martino, FSA executive director. “It also represents the dedication that Indiana University Kokomo has to stop domestic violence and sexual assault and to help those in need.”
Students, faculty, and staff raised more than $1,400 during the walk, which started at the Pavilion and followed the Kingston’s Crossing walking trail on campus. The number of community sponsors increased this year to 23, plus a community member agreed to adopt a room at the shelter to provide funding for its renovation.
“This is an amazing, united front, that we say ‘no more,’” Martino said.