To raise the money for the blankets, the girls made fudge and sold it at the Asbury Craft Fair and used the profits, nearly $275, to purchase the materials.
The process itself is pretty simple, the girls said; once the fleece is purchased, they use two pieces of fabric that they fray at the edge by cutting squares out of the corners and then make six-inch strips, about an inch apart, along each edge. The girls then tie the strips of each blanket together nicely to give it a “frilly” edge. The whole process, depending on how many girls are working on it at one time, can take about 20 minutes.
The girls used fleece with a myriad of designs such as baseballs, fishing, deer, flowers or just beautiful colors and then made them in either a large size or small size for children.
“It was something we had done in my church in Georgia and something we thought we’d send to Africa,” ninth-grader Sarah Dunagan said. “But we talked about it and decided to do something closer to home.”
The small teen group met on their free time over the weekends and even talked about their plans during school before they developed the full idea. The girls said they had considered several ideas including homeless shelters and charitable organizations before deciding to make it their “mission” to help out those in need in their own area.
“From my perspective, what’s been really cool is how all this happened ... I didn’t do anything,” said the girls’ youth pastor, Johnny Strange. “This was purely their initiative.”
Strange said being a youth pastor he spends a lot of time planning events for the group but was amazed when the girls came to him not only with an idea but the drive to follow through on their own.
“It’s really a youth pastor’s dream,” Strange said. “But best of all, they did it with the right heart and to meet the need that is out there.”
The small group agreed that it was a labor of love for them just to let someone who was hurting know that they are not alone, freshman Amelia Lowry said.
Lowry said that not long ago the small group had made her a blanket while she was in the hospital and that it really meant a lot to her. Strange also said that a few years back that he had been the victim of a house fire and receiving a blanket during that trying time would have meant a lot to him and his family.
“(To the people who get the blankets), I would just want them to know that somebody cares, that we care as people and that Jesus cares,” 10th-grader Alicia Lyon said. “And the only way we were able to do this was because Jesus cares about us. So people can wrap up in the blanket just like He was giving them a hug.”
This is not the last mission for the teens, the girls said. They have big ideas for the future including possibly making more blankets for the recent tornado victims or handing out Bibles at their school. They haven’t decided collectively yet but first said that they need to do some more fundraising.
One mission they do have “locked in” is a trip to Inez, near Salyersville, to help with the relief efforts in June, Strange said.