Student Group Continues to Support with Blankets
WETHERSFIELD - Peace, Love, Blankets, a group of student volunteers from Wethersfield, has offered numerous blankets, its own version of comfort, to victims of every tragedy, from the tsunamis in Japan to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown.
No matter what it is--a tornado in Indiana, a cancer patient in need of a reason to smile, or just a kind gesture to someone less fortunate--Peace, Love, Blankets always appears to be ready to donate its product, but you simply cannot plan for an unexpected crisis.
“You’ve got to start ahead of time,” said Beth Foran, the mother of Peace, Love, Blankets founder Alex Foran. “You can’t have a natural disaster and have all these blankets all of sudden.”
That’s exactly what the group was trying to do back in March--stock a solid supply of blankets in preparation for anything that might occur. Little did they know, something would happen much sooner than they thought. The next month at the Boston Marathon, a bomb went off at the finish line, killing three and injuring 264.
“You start ahead of time, [but] who would have thought you’d have a bombing in Boston?” Beth said.
The group was able to compile 46 of its blankets to be sent to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston with cards that read, “Boston Strong,” but the group was not done yet. Three weeks later, a tornado ravaged Oklahoma.
“Usually we start making more blankets right after we send some out,” Alex said. “We just like to always have at least 20-30 made in case something like Boston or Oklahoma happens and then, depending on the situation, we send those or make more and send them and then the cycle continues.”
Alex’s sister, Lian, said members of the group sew “whenever we have free time” because, like Beth said, you just never know what can happen.
“We just begin to make blankets so we have a good amount in case some event does happen,” she said. “Then, when something does happen, like Boston or Oklahoma, then we have enough to send out.”
When it came to Oklahoma, the organization got a little help delivering the 19 blankets it made for the town of Moore-Harwinton. Resident John DiCostanzo, who made headlines in May when he attached a trailer to his Ford Excursion and traveled to the devastated state with supplies, linked up with Beth to take their donation to the tornado victims.
“Occasionally I will wonder who is getting our blankets and what their thoughts are, but usually I am just happy that whoever got them really needed them whether that is mentally or physically,” Alex said.
The group recently sent blankets to an orphanage in China, which has an even more personal connection to the Foran family. Alex and Lian were both adopted from Shang Hou’s Children’s Welfare Institute, where an exchange student delivered 28 of their blankets.
“I’m really happy we sent blankets to the shelter where my sister and I were adopted,” Alex said. “I think it’s interesting and a cool way to kind of get in touch with where we came from.”
Lian echoed this sentiment.
“The fact that our blankets are going where I was adopted is amazing,” she said. “It was lucky for us since there was an exchange student from that city and agreed to bring them there. It’s great that we are able to make an impact on a place where we have a connection personally.”
Peace, Love, Blankets launched its efforts in 2010 with six Wethersfield High School students. The group has donated to eight countries and five states. Since then, membership has grown to local middle school students.