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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Story of the Fleece Blankets

This happened in Antioch, CA right after 9/11. I was working with the teenage youth at church and we all felt the need to do something to help. The young women and young men made over 30 blankets that we mailed out quickly. I thought I'd share the story that I wrote several years ago.
Saturday night I received a phone call from Pam Wilburn telling me about a service project that her sister-in-law was coordinating in the Chicago area thru her local school PTA. They were making fleece blankets to give to the children that have been affected by the WTC tragedy. There is a daycare center in New York that lots of children whose parents worked at the WTC attended. As of late last week there were MANY children who were still waiting for their parents to pick them up. These poor children have either lost their parent or parents or in some cases their parents have been injured. This broke my heart.

The Chicago-based PTA group is working in conjunction with a local Veterans group in Chicago who can deliver the blankets to the children in New York. Each of these children deserves to have a blanket (or lovie) to help comfort them during this terrible time. We wanted to help support this noble effort. We plan to mail the blankets to Chicago tomorrow and next week the Veterans group will deliver the blankets to New York.

Now is where it gets interesting. Each of these blankets costs a little over $8.00. We are making 30 blankets so the material would cost $260.00 total. This is a lot of money. Yesterday I started going to stores asking for donations of fleece to use for the blankets. It was not going well. At 11:30 a.m. I was supposed to go to Walmart and then to Joann Fabrics to ask for donations. I was delayed at Jack London for around 1 ½ hours to help with the Vision Screening there. At 1:00 p.m. I was heading for Walmart, but then decided to go to Joann Fabrics first. When I arrived at Joann Fabrics, Susanne Larson also happened to be at that store. She overheard me ask for a donation. The employee said “Sorry – you’ll have to go thru our corporate offices.” I thought there was no possible way of getting a corporate donation approved within 24 hours. This is when Susanne jumped in and said “May I please have your corporate headquarters phone number?” Susanne spent around 20 minutes on her cellular phone and told them about our project telling them we felt it was an urgent matter. They asked us to send them a letter with all of the details and they’d review it. I typed a letter and Susanne faxed it over that day.

When I went back to Walmart that afternoon to check the status of that donation (the answer was no-sorry) there were some veterans outside asking for money. I was talking to them about the Veterans group we were working with. These two men asked me if I had received any free fabric yet. I said “Not yet.” They told me “Well, all you need is the faith of a mustard seed and you will receive what you need.”

This morning I received a phone call at 7:30 a.m. from the local Joann Fabric store and they said that I had been authorized to receive 30 yards of fleece for FREE. I went to the store this morning and they told me to pick whichever fabric I wanted to use. The Joann Fabric store wanted to make sure the fabric was cheery and bright for the kids.

This was an amazing story. The fact that Susanne and I happened to be at the same store at the same time and that she was able to pull this off is a small miracle. And the interesting part is that the only reason Susanne was at Joann’s at that moment was because she accidently missed her exit to Kaiser for some reason and felt like she was supposed to go to Joann’s as she passed by.

I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who looks after us. No-these blankets won’t bring about world peace, but they will bring a small bit of love and comfort to some of our brothers and sisters who are very sad at this time.


Marlee said...

Interesting.!! JoAnn Fabrics is one of my most favorite stores to buy fleece and other stuff.

Delirious said...

Very cool story, thanks for sharing!