Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara donates coverings to foster care clients
When it was suggested that Kiwanis Club members make blankets for children in foster homes or similar sites, the local club responded with enthusiasm.
“We were asked to make five of them, but the Santa Barbara club, being overachievers, made more than 30,” said Nancy Butterfield, president-elect of the group and organizer of the project.
“It was right up my alley because I have a soft spot for foster kids, and I’m a member of the Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara and Goleta,” she told the News-Press. “I have been making quilts for my family and friends for years.”
The Blanket Project was launched last November when Mrs. Butterfield asked how many fellow members would like to participate during a weekly Zoom meeting.
Responses came from club members Anita Dominocielo-Ho, Michelle McDonnell, Lauren Loza, Stacy Mertus, Shelly Richards, Dr. Art Najera and his wife Barbara as well as friends of the club, Ron and Melody Stankoski.
“Melody is a good friend of mine, and her husband Ron was a mail carrier, who took up sewing after he retired recently. He moved the exercise equipment out of a spare room in their house and moved in several sewing machines and a cutting table,” said Mrs. Butterfield, who ordered the “no-sew” blanket kits from a shop in Camarillo.
“They are called no-sew because two layers of fleece with colorful print coverings are tied together,” said Mrs. Butterfield, adding that she placed the $100 order before seeking official approval from the club.
“I wanted to have them ready for Christmas. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be a problem, but if it had been, I would have paid for the kits myself.”
To maintain a safe social distance, the blanket volunteers picked up the kits from the front porch of one of the members. Completed blankets were then delivered back to the porch or picked up from the makers.
“Some did two blankets, and others made as many as 12,” said Mrs. Butterfield. “They were completed by Dec. 15 and ready for delivery to three different organizations. Angels Foster Care and YMCA’s Noah’s Anchorage received 10 each, and the Unity Shoppe was given 11 of them, all in time for holiday giving.”
A Christmas card was donated along with each blanket for the givers to include with their gift from the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara.
“We plan to make the Blanket Project a part of our service projects to celebrate our upcoming 100-year anniversay celebration,” Mrs. Butterfield said. “The blanket makers felt that it was a great project for the pandemic because they were doing something for the community but didn’t have to leave their homes.”
Ms. Dominocielo-Ho said, “It was fun making the blankets and thinking fondly of each person who would receive and enjoy them.”
Added Ms. McDonnell, “I felt bad about not being able to participate in the Kiwanis Food Drive at Ralphs. Making the blankets was something I could do safely at home.”
Ms. Bevan-Miller, who was helped by her son, said, “Great project, but these blankets aren’t as easy to make as they might look.”
“Those were fun to make! Do you have any more?” said Ms. Askew.
“The blankets remind me of the quilts I make. A whole lot of love goes into each one. When someone wraps a quilt around themselves, they are wrapping themselves in love. They warm the body and the heart. It’s love that keeps on giving,” said Mrs. Butterfield. “When I heard about a foster youth who still cherished the blanket he received many years ago, it was inspiring.”