Annual Blanket Drive

Our 2019 Blanket Drive was an extraordinary success. Hundreds of people from across the state (and a few from across the nation and one generous family from Canada!) ordered brand new, full size blankets to be shipped to our shelter. The notes were incredibly heartwarming, and the blankets were simply warmth. We did not know if people would send a new blanket to a stranger in need, now we know. We are having conversations about a 2020 Blanket Drive now, working to make sure we know what will work best in a world that has changed so much in a year. If you were one of our 2019 donors, accept all our love. For the weeks that followed the launch of last year’s drive, we got to know the delivery drivers on a first name basis, as they were spending so much time bringing blankets to the shelter. We felt rich, and the excitement of handing a new, full size blanket to a client was INCREDIBLE. Every client (inside or outside the shelter) who asked for a blanket was given one. Some went to recently housed clients who don’t have much in their new spaces. It was such a rare feeling to have enough of a resource to be able to meet demand. And we want to stress that clients were holding on to the blankets. They knew that it was a rare treat, and they wouldn’t get another new blanket that big again, so we saw blankets being kept with clients as sarongs, serapes, bedrolls, and draped over walkers. Best. Blanket. Drive. Ever.

A few weeks after we began handing out blankets to clients, I was downtown at the Paramount on Congress for a holiday movie with my kids. We parked a few blocks away on a cold December night, and as we walked to the theatre I began seeing the blanket drive blankets. Since we suggested one of two specific blankets on Amazon, 90+% of the blankets that arrived were one of those two styles. I had unpacked so many that I knew the color and sheen of the blankets on sight. To see men and women wrapped up in these blankets was a bittersweet thing. It hurts to see un-sheltered individuals, it makes you wonder what we can do better, or more of, to get these individuals into stable housing. But seeing people completely covered in a new blanket that was truly large enough to keep someone warmer…well…that was beautiful. I mentioned it at work the next day, and my colleagues shared stories of seeing the blankets around the city too. We all felt part of something special, we have never been able to distribute so many blankets, new blankets, or large blankets in all our years of this work. Throughout the winter, even when I saw someone sleeping in an alley at 3 am, at least I felt a bit less anguished when I saw these blankets providing some comfort.

Amy Price, Director of Development