By SOPHIA MONCALEANO
PUBLISHED: December 16, 2020 at 5:09 p.m. | UPDATED: December 31, 2020 at 4:53 p.m.
With knitting needles and crochet hooks in hand, residents of Balfour Senior Living are making new blankets for children who are ill, traumatized or in need, though the nonprofit Project Linus.
According to a news release, these “Balfour Blanketeers” have embraced this project to buoy their hearts and minds and keep their fingers moving. Whether in their apartments or gathered in common areas, residents are working tirelessly to create hundreds of blankets for donation.
Blankets made by the Balfour Blanketeers are piled on chairs outside Balfour at Lavender Farms Senior Living in this set-up photo on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Louisville.(Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer) “Making these blankets has been a rewarding activity because it is one that can be done in small groups or individually in their apartments, depending on the state of COVID restrictions,” Nikole Bari, Life Enrichment Manager for Balfour at Lavender Farms, stated in the release.
“Even residents with vision issues, like macular degeneration, are still able to make blankets because the pattern allows the visually impaired to simply use their sense of touch to complete ‘no sew’ blankets.”
Starting at Balfour at Lavender Farms in Louisville, the Balfour Blanketeers can now be found in most of Balfour Senior Living’s communities.
Louise Garrels, director of marketing and communications, wrote in an email that some residents are sewing, knitting or crocheting blankets while others are making “no sew” blankets. Garrels estimates there will be 500 blankets or more to donate to Project Linus.
Bari said the goal at Lavender Farms was to make 150 blankets, but residents have surpassed this goal by making around 162. She added that residents Betty Sadlak and Lucy Sjoblom have helped create almost 90 percent of Lavender Farms’ total.
“I thought it was a terrific cause for the children, and I enjoyed doing them,” said Sadlak. “I kind of miss not having the blankets to do at night or in the evening. They’re going to such a good cause that it was well worth all the time and the thoughts with each blanket about the children.”
Sadlak said she is glad to be helping children who need a little extra cheer. She said a blanket is something the children can use for a long time, and it’ll be comforting for them to have “a friend” to carry around.
Sjoblom’s daughter, Barbara Long, said her mother is no stranger to volunteering, and this was a good project for her to work on during the pandemic.
Some of the volunteer work Sjoblom has done in the past includes building houses for Habitat for Humanity, helping clean up after Hurricane Katrina, and working as a Girl Scout troop leader, Long said.
Bari said this project was a good opportunity for residents to do something with their hands and keep their minds busy, and it was a way to keep everyone pushing on through the coronavirus pandemic. She stated the blankets will provide the children with a sense of security, warmth and hope.
“They’ve given us a wonderful way for residents to be able to give back to the community and help support the community through Project Linus by making blankets for children in need,” Bari said. “It will be a great yearly, annual project to make blankets around the holidays.”
Garrels wrote in an email if people would like to contribute blankets to the Balfour Blanketeers, they can drop them off at any of the Balfour Senior Living locations throughout December.