When my mother, Katie, moved to Brookdale Club Hill in Garland, TX and I retired, she asked me to see if I could set up something for the residents with my “blanket making”. I volunteer with Binky Patrol, a national non-profit organization that makes and distributes new blankets to children from newborn to 18 years of age who are in need. (I.e.: hospitals, foster care, or emergency situations). I spoke with Michael Oliver, who was the Life Enrichment Coordinator at that time and we got started working on blankets.
We started with 3 residents 3 years ago and now have over 10 volunteers at this facility sharing their talents. Nowana, LaRue, Wanda, Janet, Martha, Tonette and her husband Chris work up the fleece, fringed “strippy” blankets the kids love to cuddle into. Besides working on blankets, Barbara knits hats for the newborns and neonatal units. She’s done over 900 so far! Her husband George braids the selvages from the fleece blankets into dog toys (tugs) that go to the local animal shelters. Wilhelmine and Peggy crochet beautiful heirloom quality angel and baby blankets. Our thanks to Rachel Rials, the current Life Enrichment Coordinator.
After Mike took a position with the Brookdale Lake Highlands facility in Dallas, we added them to our program. Our volunteers vary from week to week, but we have our regulars, Katie, John, Geneva, and Kathy, along with the Memory Care residents, who the color fabric blocks we put into quilts for the kids. The blocks have pictures traced on them ranging from farm animals to cartoon characters, to transportation to superheroes and I think our volunteers get as much of a kick out of coloring them as the kids do when they receive them. Mike’s mom, Katherine, also resides here and she provides the fringed “strippy” blankets. John and the Memory Care residents also braid their share of the tug toys.
We’ve made over 15 quilts using the blocks colored by everyone here over the past 15 months. Our thanks to Mike Oliver and Shewanesh Gebrewahid, Clare Bridge Resident Programs.
The volunteers from these locations contribute between 40 – 60 finished blankets a month (10-15% of our monthly deliveries). They do make a difference!
If you ask any of these volunteers why they do it, they’ll probably give you one of two answers, if not both. We can just see the smile on the child’s face when they receive the blanket; It makes me feel good to do something for someone, even someone I don’t know. I feel useful.