MVOB blankets are now carried by some police officers in the Cincinnati area. Carol, our Blanket Angel Coordinator in the area, told us how it happened.
A couple of our blanket angels have talked with local police officers who are sometimes called to homes in the middle of the night for drug abuse and/or family violence and have to remove children from the home. Frequently the children, including babies, have no blankets and/or very little clothing on.
We thought it would be helpful if the officers had blankets to wrap around the children. When a social worker comes to take the child into foster care, the blanket could go with them. When we offered our blankets, we had a very positive response from the police, and we have supplied the Greenhills Police Department with 12 blankets.
This is a wonderful way to put a blanket in the hands of a child at a time of great need. Great job, Cincinnati Blanket Angels!
A network of Blanket Angels connecting Florida, Westerville, Cincinnati and Chicago made it happen.
Members of Meeting Planners International from Ohio and Kentucky made 200 fleece blankets at a recent educational conference in Cincinnati. The project was organized by Peggy, a conference participant who is the Chicago-based Midwest Sales Director for a West Palm Beach, FL tourism company.
Peggy learned about MVOB through an event held in West Palm Beach that included a blanket-making project. The experience inspired her to become an MVOB advocate.
At the Cincinnati event, Peggy hosted an exhibit booth where attendees learned about MVOB and made blankets. To make it happen, she connected with three local Blanket Angels who picked up the fleece in Westerville and delivered it in Cincinnati, collected the finished blankets after the event, and donated them in Cincinnati.
Peggy will take the leftover fleece to an industry event in Chicago where new blanket angels will make blankets that she will donate in Chicago, extending MVOB's mission even farther, to more children in foster care.
As of December 1, 2019, there were 16,388 children in care in Ohio, from newborn babies to youth 18 years old. There were 155,488 participants in open child abuse and neglect cases. The counties with the largest numbers in both categories are Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton.
From Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Data Dashboard, 12/1/19
Even though we are facing disturbing foster care statistics that highlight the urgent need we try to meet, we can lighten our serious work with a little fun with our blanket angels. On Valentine’s Day, we took photos of the angels who happened to deliver blankets – and were willing to wear red, heart-shaped sparkly glasses for a photo!
Because kids in foster care always need to see and feel LOVE as they live through the foster care process, there is always need for more blankets. You can help; it’s fast and easy. Sponsor a no-sew fleece blanket kit for $10, online or in person.
We are blessed to have another partner in our mission to provide love and hope to children in foster care. Stitched Together, a family-run organization serving Central Ohio, was created to meet a need for kids entering the foster care system and give them a little hope during an uncertain time in their life.
Stitched Together wants to provide every kid entering foster care with their own Hope Case and something to call their own.
Hope Cases are backpacks filled with comfort items as well as essential items for children entering the foster care system. Hope cases ease their transition with something to call their own. Each Hope Case is packed with items specific to a certain age group.
Karie Griffin, Stitched Together’s founder, stopped in to meet us recently. We gave her a tour and some bags of blankets to include in the Hope Cases. She and her daughter are shown at left ready to go home with the blankets.
Karie is a foster parent in the process of adopting her foster son.
She told us, “As a foster parent, I witnessed children entering the system arrive with nothing or with minimal items stuffed in a trash bag. These items are often things the social worker or police scooped up off the floor and may or may not belong to the child. Stitched Together provides Hope Cases to children entering the system. Hope Cases are backpacks for all age ranges that contain both comfort items and essential items. These cases enable the child to have something to call their own and a little bit of hope in an uncertain time. We proudly serve the Central Ohio area.”
Email Karie Griffin: email@example.com
Jillian Gregory, our new Blanket Angel Coordinator (BAC) in Rising Sun, Indiana, is taking her role seriously!
First, she has organized the members of her quilting group to sew blankets for MVOB. Jillian donates the blankets to three local CASA volunteers (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Child Service Agencies.
So far, her enthusiastic quilt group has donated more than 45 blankets, and they're still sewing. We were thrilled when Jillian, a CASA volunteer herself, shared with us, "I personally have 7 CASA kiddos and made them blankets. I am so blessed to have found your organization. What a dream come true."
In addition to quilters, Jillian is working with volunteers who want to make blankets but don't sew or knit. "My CASA organization is always getting groups such as cheerleaders, basketball teams and churches wanting to help our foster kids," she said. "No-sew" fleece blankets are perfect for these blanket angels to make. One of these groups is pictured above.
Another arm of Jillian's BAC work takes place at the Madison Women's Prison, where she has begun weekly quilting classes for 15 of the women. Jillian told us, "I'm having so much fun...The woman are working on quilts for MVOB...They are really cranking them out and having a great time...The ladies that are incarcerated are moved when I talk about CASA and all the children in foster care. Most have been in the system themselves and talk about their experiences. The thought of making quilts for other children has been inspirational for them."
There is another group of eight ladies at the prison who are crocheting blankets for MVOB. "Their daily job at the prison is to crochet. They are crocheting blankets for me and it is amazing," Jillian added.
Thanks to Jillian and the other Blanket Angel Coordinators around the U.S., children in foster care far from Central Ohio will be comforted with handmade blankets, each with a special MVOB label attached so that each child can put their name on "their very own blanket."
For information about helping MVOB in YOUR area, check out our Blanket Angel Coordinator webpage
We are celebrating! As we opened the workshop on Friday, December 6, our blanket count was 19,869, SO close to our 20,000 goal.
We were excited to see several blanket angels arrive with donations, and the total started to climb as they pushed the blue blanket counter button.
Closer and closer, until the last donation of 21 blankets brought the total to 20,002! Share the moment below.
Many, many thanks to all of our supporters, all over Ohio and in 16 other states, for your faithful efforts that allowed us to reach this ambitious goal. We are blessed by your support.
My Very Own Blanket has been selected for the 2019 Best of Westerville Award in the Non-Profit Organization category by the Westerville Award Program.
Each year, the Westerville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Westerville area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Westerville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Westerville Award Program and data provided by third parties.
We usually don’t learn directly about the effect of the blankets we give to children in foster care. Today is different.
Lori, a Volunteer Coordinator from Montgomery County CASA*, picked up a bag of 100 blankets this morning to replenish their supply. She shared this with us:
“We frequently ask the children we represent if there is anything that we can provide for them, if there is anything they need. Over and over, they tell us: their own blanket. It stays with them if they move, it isn't borrowed, it isn't used, it doesn't belong to their foster parents. It truly is something of their very own.”
Each blanket you make matters. Lori was very grateful to receive them. So many children are entering foster care that CASA struggles to provide a blanket for each of them. Thank you for providing love and comfort to children in foster care.
*CASAs are Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteers who make a life-changing difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court. Our volunteers help judges develop a fuller picture of each child’s life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child. www.casaforchildren.org
Last Spring, Tina Green and her colleague Shelly, Montgomery County WWK (Wendy’s Wonderful Kids) recruiters, visited our Blanket Workshop to pick out some of the larger blankets for the youth in foster care attending Camp Joy, the WWK summer camp for young people aged 12 - 17.
(Original story: https://www.myveryownblanket.org/news/archives/04-2019)
Tina recently sent us this email that we want to share with you:
Here are some photos of our youth enjoying the blankets during movie night!
We took pictures of our youth with the blankets they received. They loved them so much and slept with them at night.
Nationwide employees in 5 states make blankets together
Thirty-four people from Nationwide’s Property & Casualty Compliance team in five locations in Des Moines, Iowa; Scottsdale, Arizona; Brea, California; and San Antonio, Texas participated in this year’s Day of Caring.
After the Day of Caring was over, we were glad to hear and receive the photos above from Nationwide's Gretchen Collins, one of the day's organizers:
"Each year the Nationwide team works to coordinate volunteer experiences for each location. It’s hard to coordinate across multiple locations, but your process made it very easy. From blanket pickup, instruction sheets, cutting templates, and name tags, this was a smooth experience. Thank you for caring for some of the most vulnerable in our society!"
Many thanks to the Nationwide team for providing handmade blankets for children in foster care in Iowa, Arizona, California and Texas. We are thrilled that, through an expanding network of volunteers, My Very Own Blanket can help provide love and comfort to children in foster care in places far from Central Ohio!