Local High School Student Leads Blanket DrivePosted on January 21st, 2020
Cole, a 12th grade student from Hutchinson High School, has a heart for service and a gift for collaboration. Last fall, Cole decided to initiate his own service project. He brainstormed with his sister, and the pair decided on a blanket drive.
Cole started the project closer to home, connecting with Common Cup Ministry, a program supported by a collection of churches that provides support and financial resources to community members in the Hutchinson area. He worked with the team to plan the scope of the blanket drive and set up the collection process.
“Originally, we did a lot planning. Since the material costs for making blankets were high, I decided that we would make some of the blankets and collect new and gently used blankets. We made a lot of posters and wrote social media posts to let people know about the drive. We put collection boxes out at different churches,” he says.
A bright student leader, Cole also wanted to engage his fellow National Honor Society (NHS) group members in the project. Together, the NHS group collected monetary donations, waited for a fabric store sale to purchase fleece at a reduced cost, and assembled the blankets outside of school hours.
The total number of blankets — collected at local churches and hand-made by the high school group — exceeded Cole’s expectations and the local needs at Common Cup Ministry. Cole extended the reach of his project to the Minneapolis area.
Recalling that members of his congregation at Peace Lutheran Church had participated in a service project at Simpson Housing Services, Cole contacted Director of Volunteer Engagement Christina Giese who welcomed the generous donations on behalf of Simpson.
The enthusiastic NHS student group delivered 300 blankets — and 500 new pairs of socks — to Simpson’s Shelter before the holidays. They toured the shelter and learned how guests are treated with dignity, receiving housing, hot meals, staff support, and greatly appreciated donation items.
“Cole is an incredible leader and diligent worker, involving so many different community groups to complete this successful four-month project. Simpson is so grateful for the donations,” says Christina.
Cole is pleased with the outcome of the blanket drive, and he is glad that the project was meaningful to so many people — the volunteers who collaborated for the project, and most of all, the shelter guests who will experience warmth and comfort:
“In the middle of the project, I would think, ‘can all of these blankets really be used?’ It’s good to know that people in need are using them. There is something very satisfying about helping people. And if people need help, why not give it?”