Families create blankets for community

Ariel Taylor, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, makes a fleece blanket with her niece Janyiah Clark, 6 and cousing Amariana Beal, 7. Taylor said her Family Weekend was going well so far, and that her family members had not driven her crazy-yet.

Cassie Buchman

Ariel Taylor, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, makes a fleece blanket with her niece Janyiah Clark, 6 and cousing Amariana Beal, 7. Taylor said her Family Weekend was going well so far, and that her family members had not driven her crazy-yet.

Kalyn Hayslett, Editor-in-Chief

On the table or on the floor, families were busy at work building blankets from colorful squares of fleece during Family Weekend.

The Fleece Blanket Service Project was one of many activities offered for families during the weekend in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Once the families selected two different colors of fabric, they were given scissors and a square with printed instructions.

The families were responsible for picking the fleece, cutting the ends of it, cutting strips of fabrics and tying the strips of fabric together.

All of the completed blankets had two different colors ranging from red, green, blue, crème and pink zebra print.

The end product had all four sides knotted and folded on a table in the front of the room.

Families could create blankets at their own pace and had the chance to make as many blankets as they wanted.

The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism hosted the service project and will donate the finished blankets to the organization One Stop Community Christmas, who will then give them to families in need.

The idea of creating a blanket for a family in need motivated several families to participate, Tyler Vollmer, a graduate student, said.

Shari Conley and John Conley worked on a blanket with their daughter Morgan Conley, a junior psychology major.

“I think it’s a nice concept for families to come together and help other families,” Shari Conley said.

Though families could have chosen to eat breakfast with Eastern President David Glassman or participate in creation stations happening at the same time as the project, Vollmer said it was touching to see them give back to others instead.

“Everyone has been so excited to volunteer, even when they do not get to take anything back with them,” he said.

The office has held the program throughout the year with the Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E. program.

However, this year’s participation exceeded all of the workers’ expectations, Rachel Lindhart, a graduate student, said.

“We are at 56 people,” Lindhart said. “We are thrilled (because) we were only planning for 10 people.”

Every family was able to participate regardless of their size or ages of the family members.

“Seeing the different ages and family members gives it a more familiar vibe and it makes it that more enjoyable,” Lindhart said.

Danny Lanka, the father of Marisa Lanka, a senior finance major, said he enjoys helping others in need because he can relate to their struggle.

“I had cancer and a lot of people helped me,” Lanka said. “When I can give back, I do.”

Quin Becker, a freshman undecided major, said making the blankets required teamwork and a lot of time.

“It’s pretty simple, but it’s time-consuming, so it is good if you have time with your family,” she said.

The thought of creating a blanket that will help keep someone warm makes creating the blankets worth it, even during the hard parts, Ariel Taylor, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, said.

“Tying is the hardest part, because you have to tie almost a hundred knots,” Taylor said.

The fleeces that the families used were either bought by the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism or were donated by community members.

The purpose of Family Weekend is to provide much-needed support for students, Taylor said.

Since the Fleece Blanket Service Project was brought on campus, it has supported over 900 families.

“We are not only giving back to the community, but we are bringing families together,” Lindhart said. “It’s actually kind of beautiful.”

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]