Giving the gift of warmth

Dec. 08, 2013 @ 03:58 PM

Sometimes showing that you care can be as easy as giving a blanket.

Blanket Orange County has been showing people it cares, about 2,198 people over the last nine years to be exact.
Going into its 10th year, Blanket Orange County is working to collect 300 blankets for the Inter-Faith Council and other agencies who give the gift of warmth.
“It’s getting really cold. We’ve been out many mornings and seen frost on the ground,” said Jan Bolick, local business owner and director of Blanket Orange County. “It’s very critical to help al the people who are not as fortunate as we are.
“IFC starts getting requests as soon as it gets cold,” Bolick continued. “They don’t have money in their budget for blankets. They really rely on this drive to help people at risk.”
Three hundred blankets were collected last year for IFC, Bolick explained. Any blankets over the goal go to other organizations that help people at risk including the Ronald McDonald House and the local police departments to assist trauma victims.
This year’s campaign will continue through Dec. 14.
“We’re thrilled to be able to do that,” she said. “We hope that we can do more than 300 blankets. They will definitely get used.”
In addition to having eight drop-off sites throughout Orange County, others have decided to conduct mini-drives of their own to help the cause.
One of the mini-drives this year is being held at Gleenwood Elementary. Candace White and the school’s Student Government Association took on the task of gathering blankets.
“It’s been a short turnaround but it’s been nice and steady,” White said. “It’s indescribable to see them wanting to help other people and watching their enthusiasm as they spread the word to others.”
Bolick said that she was “just so impressed with all that they’re doing,” when she found out about the school’s helping hand.
White said that her students have taken the task seriously. From reminding the school of the blanket drive through morning announcements, posters throughout the school and informing parents, the SGA at Glenwood is doing what it can to help some people have a warmer winter.
“I wanted to be a part of helping people who don’t have blankets,” said SGA member Mitra Samei.
After watching a movie where people gathered items to help others, Jessica Umulisa said, “I just wanted to do the same thing.”
“It’s nice to be generous to people who are homeless,” she added.
As of Dec. 3, Bolick said that 65 blankets had been collected, not including the blanket donations at mini-drives throughout the county. The annual goal is set based on need, she explained.
The brainchild of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Women’s Roundtable, Blanket Orange County collected 57 blankets during its first year and since then, Bolick said, “it just kept inching up and up and up.”

DROP-OFF SITES

• Aloft Hotel at 1001 S. Hamilton Road
• Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce at 104 S. Estes Drive
• Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA at 980 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
• H2Only Cleaners in Southern Village
• Orange County Visitor’s Bureau at 501 W. Franklin St.
• UNC Wellness Center at 100 Sprunt St.
• UPS Store at 1289 N. Fordham Blvd next to the Holiday Inn on 15-501
• UPS Store in Meadowmont

For monetary donations, checks can be made out to IFC with “Blanket Orange County” in the memo line.