On Jan. 22, the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs hosted the 22nd annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, a project focused on making blankets for children in foster care and in the hospital.
Working out of the Sykes Ballrooms, students, staff, faculty, and community members came together throughout the day to make handmade blankets. The project aimed at connecting students with the community while providing a service.
“We don’t want to have something for the students to do that doesn’t end up going anywhere, we want them to fulfill a community need, and connect the students to that community,” Jamie Williams, the Assistant Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, said.
Many of these children, Williams stressed, have few or no personal belongings. The quilts made during the event will give children in need a personal item they can hold onto wherever they go. “[pullquote speaker=”Jaime Williams”]It’s to let them know there are others out there who care about them, that they’re not alone[/pullquote]
This was also the first year that the event was broken into two shifts. Participants had a choice of working 2:30 to 4 p.m., 4:30 to 6 p.m., or both. The move was designed in hopes of attracting more people to attend and participate, and in a move that apparently worked. Despite being the first week of the semester, the MLK event attracted over 400 university students alone, some not even from West Chester University. They created 150 blankets for children in need.
Three speakers from non-profit organizations, including Chester County Hospital’s NICU and Pediatrics Department, A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, and Fleece for Keeps, spoke with blanket makers, telling them how the blankets they are making impact the lives of the children receiving them.
Adam Farence is a fourth-year student majoring in French and history. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.