La Feria Converted Texan Crafts for her Community
by Rocio Villalobos
All of her life, Barb Couturier has enjoyed helping others. As a child, she was involved in Girl Scouts; as an adult, she worked as a rural mail carrier, which she says often involved returning horses to a ranch, herding cows, and repairing fences to keep animals from escaping. Now retired and a Converted Texan from Michigan, Couturier spends hours each day at VIP-La Feria RV Park, making quilts and dolls for foster children in the area. Courtier knits and crochets the items, which she said can take from several days to over a week to finish.
“I learned how to knit when I was 18,” Couturier said. “I had a fellow worker show me how to make a granny square; then I went and bought yarn and a hook and started making granny squares. Then I bought books to figure out what else I could make.”
In addition to donating quilts, hats, mittens, and dolls to foster homes, Couturier and other volunteers also craft handmade items for a local adult-daycare center and people in need across La Feria.
While Couturier often knits and crochets in her spare time at her residence, she also meets with a group of crafters on Fridays to work together. Their giving is not just seasonal. Couturier said while her park is a mixture of Winter Texans and full-time residents, a collection box is kept year round in the Community Hall for donations. When it’s full, the park contacts the police and fire department to determine where the need is.
“The police department and fire department interchange very well with the community. They know everyone,” Couturier said. “If there’s somebody in need and we take something over there, they know exactly who to give it to.”
She added that with everybody’s participation, the community always has a surplus of items.
“Last year when the orphanage first opened, we made a number of different items and did such a wonderful job that everybody in the community got involved. Now they have more than they can use,” Couturier said. “It just kinda spread throughout the park, and everyone wanted to volunteer. The toys, teddy bears, and whatnot are so appreciated by the kids.”
Apart from crafting, Couturier participates in Bible study at the park and in the ladies luncheons, which takes place every month at different restaurants in the RGV.
“I keep myself active and busy and do things on a regular basis,” Couturier said. “It’s just absolutely so beautiful and wonderful here.”
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