Children often enter foster care with very little to call their own. A quilt- and blanket-making effort in Overland Park is trying to bring a little security to the children by providing the gift of a handmade blanket to every child in foster care.
Volunteers and donated supplies are needed to help make the vision happen.
Project Warm Embrace is a partnership between the Kansas Department for Children and Families and Quilted Memories at 8015 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park. The shop is hosting a series of workdays for volunteers to make quilts for children in foster care. They also are looking for donations of afghans and fleece blankets as well as fabric and materials to make them.
The goal of Project Warm Embrace is for every child in foster care in the region that includes Johnson, Atchison, Leavenworth, Douglas and Wyandotte counties to have a handmade blanket. The blankets will be given to the children in December.
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Shop owner Lyn Heilman said they do not yet know the exact number of quilts they will need, but have a goal of making or collecting between 100 and 200 blankets. There are about 6,600 children in foster care throughout Kansas. The average age of a child in foster care is 8.
“I just think kids in crisis needs somebody to care and … what we want to do is to just love them and help them feel connected,” said Heilman.
Quilter Angela Block, who had attended quilt retreats at the store in Overland Park, first alerted Heilman to the idea. Block works for the Department for Children and Families and saw an inter-office e-mail about the program. She attended the first workday on June 11.
“I’ve see these situations and if there is any way we can bring comfort in the form of a blanket, something that can belong to these children, then I’ve done some good,” said Block.
Heilman, whose shop has sponsored other charitable quilting events in the past, agreed to host the work days this summer and fall.
“We want them to have something personal that is theirs they can take anywhere they go. Hopefully they will feel the love and blessings that we put into them, so, they will know someone out there is caring about them,” said Heilman.
Upcoming days are scheduled for July 9, Sept. 10, Oct. 15 and Nov. 19. Volunteer blanket makers are asked to provide their own material. However, Heilman is offering a discount for people working on blankets for donation.
For those who cannot attend the workdays, completed blankets can be dropped off at the store or at the Department for Children and Families offices in Overland Park, 8915 Lenexa Drive, or in Atchison, Kan., at 410 Commercial St.