Students from Dr. Terilyn Johnston Huntington’s Public Policy class and other volunteers came together in Ariel Arena to make blankets for My Very Own Blanket this week.
My Very Own Blanket is a non-profit organization based out of Columbus, Ohio, that serves children in the foster care system by giving them a blanket and a pillowcase of their own, because foster children often have only a garbage bag full of belongings that are truly theirs.
After reading an article in the Washington Post about the rising rate of children in foster care in Ohio due to the opioid epidemic, Johnston Huntington decided she wanted to do something to help children feel loved.
A blanket “is something warm they [the children] can snuggle up to” and keep as they get older, she said.
The blankets are fleece “no-sew” blankets that need to be cut and tied. Each blanket is completed with a patch on the bottom sharing the name of who made it.
Senior Tristen Overly was excited to take part in the project.
“When I do this, I think of my cousin’s foster kids,” Overly said. “I think that it is important they know that someone cares about them.”
Johnston Huntington donated $200 to the initiative. When her mother-in-law found out about the project, she matched the donation, making the total $400 to use towards My Very Own Blanket.
When Johnston Huntington presented the project to her Public Policy class, a parent, Pastor Thomas Gates, decided to donate $100.
Altogether, there was enough money to make 50 blankets.
Senior Kristen Albert, student leader of M2540, helped promote Monday’s event.
“As I took this class and analyzed the policy, I realized that we can’t fix the situation, but we can help them get through,” Albert said. “This is one way we can be comforting and loving during these circumstances.”
Originally meant as an activity just for the Public Policy class, the event was opened up to the MVNU community because of the amount of donations received.
“I wanted to open it up to MVNU since we are going into Thanksgiving and the holiday season,” Johnston Huntington said. “This is giving students an opportunity to serve.”
Participation for the event exceeded her expectations.
“I think with a little creativity we can make this an annual event, or even an event that we could have every semester,” Johnston Huntington said.
The blankets usually stay in the area where they are created, but due to the holiday season, they may go to other places across Ohio.