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The Lookout | February 28, 2021

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Volunteers make blankets for refugees

Volunteers make blankets for refugees

Emily Pohl
Freelance Writer

Sun flooded into the LCC Gannon Commons on Saturday, Nov. 14 as volunteers gathered together to create fleece blankets for refugees who recently relocated to greater Lansing.

Now in its second year, the purpose of the Blanket the Neighborhood event is to provide the growing number of refugees with warm blankets to help them through winter.

In the past few months, 160 refugees relocated to Lansing, many from warmer climates, and the need for household items continues to grow.

Members of the LCC Centre for Engaged Inclusion and the Experience #starpower Employee Appreciation Group decided to address this need by partnering with St. Jude Catholic Church and St. Vincent Catholic Charities.

According to Melissa Kaplan, a faculty member at LCC, event organizers hoped to make as many blankets as possible in four hours with the help of at least 50 volunteers.

“It’s wonderful to see this turnout!” Kaplan said, smiling, as she looked at the hundred-plus people working toward the common goal.

Faculty members and their children worked in tandem with nursing students and volunteers from the community to create cozy blankets to add to the growing pile. In the end, volunteers assembled 81 blankets to donate to St. Vincent Catholic Charities – Refugee Services.

Anne Heutsche from the Center for Engaged Inclusion helped organize this event with other faculty members. She expressed her appreciation for the size of the event and for the importance of outreach for a community college.

“The goal of community college is community engagement,” Heutsche said. “With that, we build a community and sense of belonging for everyone.

“It brings groups together that wouldn’t be together otherwise. We have obligations to serve one another.”