Volunteers gathered at St. Timothy Lutheran Church on June 10, with fabric, scissors and measuring tools in hand, united for a common cause.
“This is part of the Memorial Blanket Project, which is a national effort to put art in the form of homemade blankets, quilted blankets and crocheted blankets on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, which is December 21. So we’re getting blankets from across the country that will be laid out in an artistic display on that day and then they’ll be distributed to families and individuals who are homeless or in dire situations.”
Each state is encouraged to create at least 100 blankets. 10 will head to Washington, D.C. for display on the single day event, for donation afterwards, and the others will be distributed upon completion to families in need.
“Illinois is the homeless children’s education state, we really specialize in that. So we’re doing blankets for kids,” said Nilan
It’s a labor of love, for a cause that Nilan has been championing for years through her group HEAR US. Its mission is to give voice and visibility to homeless children and youth. A boy named Charlie is featured in the group’s materials, putting a face to a problem that many may not be aware of.
“They don’t realize especially that there’s families and youth out here in homeless situations that aren’t as visible. So that’s why we’re concentrating on the kids blankets and the Charlie image to be on our blanket – because it is a way of making the people aware of the families and the kids that are in homeless situations.”
And that awareness is critical, Nilan says.
“Now more than ever it’s the after the whole pandemic – the economic fallout from that has really created more homelessness. So we need to raise the awareness and really raise the uh resources.
This project aims to help with both, with a gift of warmth, comfort, and hope.
“We have a lot of blankets to make but we have time to get them done,” said Nilan.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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