While spring break is often a time designated for relaxation, members of a new club at Pitman High School will be busy assembling colorful fleece blankets to keep children at local hospitals warm — in more ways than one.
“It’s important to have a club like this because I think we get so caught up in ourselves and our own problems,” said junior Anjali Badesha. “It’s nice because it’s so simple to do, but it has such a big impact.”
The Blankets for Love Club was formed earlier this year at Pitman to “deliver love in a blanket” to hospitalized children in the area. The idea behind the club was originally thought of at a Southern California elementary school by Susie Gallegos, who was inspired to start Blankets of Love by her aunt who spent her entire life making blankets, mittens and hats for those in need.
“Kids don’t belong in a hospital,” said club advisor Tim McCabe. “They need to be outside running and playing so giving them this form of hope inside of a hospital, which is really cold and industrial, is really awesome. Plus, we give them a personal note.”
According to Blankets of Love, one mile of fleece is purchased and hundreds of blankets are given out to hospitals in Southern California every year. McCabe, who first got involved working in the same school district as Gallegos, is hoping that the new club at Pitman will expand this effort into Northern California as well.
“When I was involved down south, I did it with my whole wrestling team and every year we would make 50 to 60 blankets,” said McCabe. “As students and as athletes, sometimes we are so focused on our successes and we’re always working hard to get medals and recognition. We’re fighting for a place on the podium and these kids are fighting for another day to live.
“Over the next couple of years, our goal is to make 100 to 200 blankets and be able to go to the centers in Sacramento and Bay Area because no one is doing it up here,” continued McCabe.
McCabe said that this year he included his order with Gallegos’ and over winter break, he drove down to Southern California to pick up the materials. Once the fleece made it to Turlock, club members divided up the fleece for 50 blankets.
Every $10 raised purchases the material for one fleece blanket. Students were given bags with information on the hospital-approved tying procedure, acceptable detergent, instructions on how to clean and dry safely for patients last week, and directions to write a note to the recipient of the blanket.
“They are out being made now and the goal is to get them back by the Tuesday after spring break when we come back,” said McCabe.
As for Badesha, she said that she is most looking forward to writing the note to whoever receives her blanket.
“It’ll just be a little bit of myself to them, so hopefully they will remember it and love it,” said Badesha.