North Central News

Students donate blankets to hospital

Members of the St. Francis Xavier Blanket Club include, clockwise, from bottom left:  Hadley Oviatt, Breannah Smiley, Sophia Alameddin, Lauren Pierce, Juliana Ramirez, Leina Rascon, Annabel Rodriguez, Chloe Pradhan, Nataly Oviatt, Lyndee Sundberg, and Cate Pradhan (photo by Teri Carnicelli).

Members of the St. Francis Xavier Blanket Club include, clockwise, from bottom left: Hadley Oviatt, Breannah Smiley, Sophia Alameddin, Lauren Pierce, Juliana Ramirez, Leina Rascon, Annabel Rodriguez, Chloe Pradhan, Nataly Oviatt, Lyndee Sundberg, and Cate Pradhan (photo by Teri Carnicelli).

Two St. Francis Xavier fifth grade students, Leina Rascon and Juliana Ramirez, started “The Blanket Club” to help children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Leina came up with the idea of the club because as a child she had to spend time at PCH. Leina said that while she was in the hospital she received a blanket and she remembered how much it meant to her and how much comfort it brought her.

Last school year Leina recruited her good friend, Juliana, to help start The Blanket Club at St. Francis Xavier School. They asked students, friends and family to help with the club and they have had an overwhelming response.

The club has more than a dozen student members, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grades. They get together to carefully cut small strips in the pre-sized blankets, which are made primarily of a fleece or flannel material. The strips are then tied with a knot closest to the base of the material. These tied or “knotted” blankets are in sizes ranging from infant to adult, since some of the patients at PCH are teenagers. The girls say they can finish a small blanket in as little as five minutes and a larger blanket in under 15 minutes.

All the blankets are laundered and placed in sealed plastic bags, with a signed note by the student(s) who made it, before being delivered to the hospital.

St. Francis Xavier teacher Nancy Crucky lets the club meet in her classroom after school on Fridays. Club members also are assisted by parent volunteers, including Leina’s mom, Addey Rascon, who keeps the blankets stored in large plastic totes at her home, and also helps cut the material to size and purchase fabrics using donations. Teachers, parents and members of the community have donated both cash and old blankets that have been cut down to appropriate sizes.

Thus far the club has delivered more than 119 blankets to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and expects to deliver another 80 or so on May 16. The club also has received the “Kids Helping Kids” Award from the hospital for its incredible support and making a difference in other children’s lives.

If you are interested in donating money or gently used fleece or flannel blankets to the club, contact Sara Hogan, SFX assistant development director, at 602-266-5364, ext. 4107, or sara.hogan@sfxphx.org.

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