We met Sharon recently when she visited the workshop to make a donation. Since it was her first visit, Jessica showed her around and asked how she heard about MVOB. Sharon told us this story and said we can share it with you:
Several years ago, after Sharon’s daughter passed away, her four teenage children were placed in foster care. Sharon wanted to care for them, but she lived in a small senior apartment, and the judge would not award custody to her. None of their other relatives were able to take them in.
Sharon was heartbroken to see her grandchildren enter foster care, so she gave up her apartment and found a house big enough for all of them. A month later, when the teens were reunited with her, they each had a MVOB blanket!
By the end of Sharon’s visit, she had volunteered to work on a project crocheting weighted blankets made from fleece blanket selvedges that we donate to Buckeye Ranch. We're grateful that Sharon shared her story with us.
MVOB has provided 55 blankets so far to former foster youth who are moving into Columbus Scholar House III, affordable housing for youth, ages 18-24, who have aged out of the foster care system and are pursuing full-time higher education and maintaining at least a 2.5 overall GPA.
Scholar House III, built by the City of Columbus and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, is located a mile away from Columbus State and includes 30 fully furnished apartment units. Our contact, Gabriella, works for Urban Strategies, Inc., who operates the Scholar Houses. Gabriella distributes the blankets to the new residents. We are thrilled to be able to help former foster youth as they pursue educations and independence.
In this video from ABC-6 TV, Ka’Marr, former foster youth and current Columbus State student, talks about his journey, goals, and what it means to have a place to call home.
Students in Ohio State University’s 2021 SpringForward summer enrichment program participated in this Zoom event and created 34 blankets for MVOB. Normally this is a residential program with in-person classes held during the summer after students complete their first year. This summer the program is completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are students from across the country who began at Ohio State in autumn 2020 and are taking summer classes and participating in events such as this one that work to build community, foster connections, and develop as Ohio State students.
Thanks to OSU and the SpringForward program for providing hope and love for children in foster care.
We are grateful to Erika, a former foster child who found us through a volunteer program sponsored by her employer, Chase Bank, for sharing a little of her story with us. Erika, her family, and her Chase family are now MVOB Blanket Angels!
I was placed in foster care at an older age, 13. I had nothing personal of my own. My Very Own Blanket means so much to me because I know the feeling of not having anything of my own in a new home. This will give foster kids something of their own that was crafted with care and a hope that things will get better.
It means even more to me that these blankets will be donated to the very organization where I was placed, in my own county where it all began!
I was very fortunate and pushed for a better life after I was out of the system. I wish that when I was placed someone would have given me a blanket to hold tight through my first night! This is something that is so close to my heart and that I can share my experiences with my own children to get involved in for years to come!
My family has ordered blanket kits and are working on them! My Chase family has been generous enough to make blankets as well to help support me on this journey! I'm hoping to do this every year from this day forward! Thank you for all that you do and all that you stand for. Erika
Loretta Ballenger, 1926 - 2021
By Jessica Rudolph
Here is the obituary for a very dear and longtime Blanket Angel who is now our Heavenly Blanket Angel!
I first met Loretta standing in line at the Post Office. I talked to her about MVOB and how I got started. I saw her next at a blanket making event I was leading at my children’s elementary school. I asked her if she had grandchildren who went to the school and she said “No, I was just so inspired with what you told me about the mission of the organization, when I saw this event in the paper, I wanted to come and be a part of it.”
She volunteered for years with us every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 am - 3 pm, sandwiching blankets in our little Blanket Workshop, helping with speaking events, training new volunteers, helping run our many Blanket Workshops as we moved from different locations, sorting & organizing fabric, sewing tops and finishing blankets at home, among so many other ways she gave of her time, talents and treasures!
JPMorgan Chase branches in Houston and San Antonio, Texas recently sponsored a blanket-making event for employees. JPMC purchased our no-sew fleece blanket kits, paid for shipping to employees' homes. Their employees responded by making 250 blankets for children in foster care in their areas.
We recently heard from one of these blanket angels who sent us this photo and story that we want to share with you:
I was able to donate my (2) blankets to a local friend who recently started doing foster care. She just received a new foster child on Thursday last week and said the girl came with nothing but over-sized boy clothes and shoes.
I am so glad I was able to deliver this blanket to her on Saturday while she was shopping for her. She said the little girl was THRILLED to get her OWN blanket!! She sent me this pic of the foster child holding the blanket, and even though we can’t see it, the foster mom said she was smiling ear to ear!
This is why we do what we do. This is why your support is essential. Even though we rarely see these young people with their new blankets, this photo reminds us that a small gift of a blanket can make a big difference to a child in crisis who has lost so much. Thank you for supporting our mission.
The women of Angels Making Blankets in Powell have made fleece blankets for us for four years. They have steadily increased from 5 to 30 members and from 65 to 663 blankets made annually since 2017. To produce this impressive progress over the years, they have refined their techniques, formed different crews to cut fringe and sew on labels, and decided to meet more often for group work parties.
COVID changed the way the group met but didn’t slow them down. Since March 2020, the Angels have held Zoom tying parties, made blankets at garden parties and gatherings in the park, worked in masks at the MVOB workshop and worked individually at home. By the end of 2020, they had made a total of 1,153 blankets and were making plans for 2021!
We are extremely grateful for dedicated AMB leader, Marilyn, her team of hard-working Blanket Angels.
AMB Annual Blanket Totals
Right now we are receiving so many beautiful crocheted blankets! The AMAZING blankets shown at the top of this page arrived one afternoon in a donation in our “24 hour curbside brown bin.”
THANK YOU to the Blanket Angel who made them for us!! You will bring SO MUCH L️OVE to all the children in foster care who will be receiving your gifts of time and talents!
Today we received a donation of unique and different types of yarns, delivered by two members (pictured above, left and center) of The Knitting/Crocheting Ministry at St. Matthews Church in Gahanna. The ministry makes items for needy and homeless families. We would love to share some of this yarn with you to make blankets for children in foster care.
By happy coincidence, our Blanket Angel Jenny (far right) also came in to donate the blankets she knits from all different types of yarns. As you can see, they are full of textures and fun colors! Jenny went home with two bags of colorful yarn from our new supply!
There is plenty of yarn left. If you would like to pick some up to use for blanket-making, stop in the workshop Monday - Friday, 9 am - Noon, and check out our stash. Thanks for helping us bring love to children in foster care!
Camille, an instructor at Concorde Career College in San Antonio, Texas, learned about MVOB through Texas Foster Care and Adoption. She and her husband fostered their grandson and recently adopted him. While he was in foster care he received a MVOB blanket.
Camille was moved to give back to other children in care. She, a colleague and their dental assistant students spent an evening after class making 10 blankets to donate to Texas Foster Care, and plans are in the works for more. We're grateful for these caring Blanket Angels.
See photos of the event below.
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