CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) - Warmth from Home blankets are made in haste but also made in love for military troops overseas.
Once blankets are sewn and patched, Jenny Wilson says they tie a yellow ribbon around the blankets to let military members know they're missed and wanted home.
Wilson, of Clovis, said the creation of the Warmth from Home blankets started when her nephew was deployed to Afghanistan, and the first letter she and her husband Louis received from him, told them that he was freezing.
"We thought to make him tie blankets," Wilson said.
Once they had the finished product, Louis went around Clovis showing off the work they had done and the Wilsons said that's when the requests started pouring in as well as the donations to fund more blanket making.
Wilson said they sent about six boxes of blankets to their nephew and sent two to wounded soldiers.
Once the word got out about what they were doing, they were put in contact with Cannon Air Force Base officials to send blankets to deployed airmen.
"Louis is the marketing and PR guy," Jenny joked.
Louis and the team, including his sister Vickie Harlin of Clovis, have received donations from organizations throughout the community in the form of money and material.
The group's goal is to send blankets to military members of all the armed forces, though they have primarily sent blankets to Army and Air Force troops. Every blanket they send out has the Warmth from Home 2012 patch on it.
"We found that 20 percent of people don't get mail from home," Louis said. The group wants to make sure they reach all military members, especially those that don't receive much to let them know they're appreciated.
Currently they're taking special requests from family and friends to send blankets.
"The other day we had a special request from a military wife," Jenny said. "Her husband said he loved it, that when he holds this blanket, it feels like he's holding a piece of home."
The group makes blankets on nights and weekends when they aren't working.
Harlin cuts the blankets and ties them, and Jenny sews and patches them.
"It takes about four yards of material to make a blanket," Harlin said, adding that because she works at Hobby Lobby, she's used her discount to buy a lot of the material.
In one day they can cut 12 blankets. Jenny said it takes 30 minutes to tie the tied ones once they're cut. Sewing and patching the blankets also takes about 30 minutes.
The cost of each blanket is about $30 including the construction and shipping.
"Right now we've sent over 60 blankets since June when we started," Jenny said.
They have also donated some of their blankets to the Ruidoso fire victims.
"We're not making money off of this," Louis said. "If you give us five cents, it will go to these blankets."
Louis likes to share pictures of the deployed military members holding their blankets. Those pictures can also be seen on their Facebook page.
"Those pictures inspire me, the happiness, it makes me cry because I know I have touched somebody's heart," Harlin said.
She added they'll take decent blankets as donations as long as they're not stained or torn. The majority of the blankets they make are made of fleece.
They'll even take volunteers to sew blankets, the only requirement is that they place the Warmth from Home patch on them.
"You sew it and we'll patch it," Jenny said.
The Wilsons said expansion of Warmth from Home has been considered but they don't plan on filing for non-profit status. Expansion to them means, the more donations they receive, the more blankets they'll make and send out.
Louis said he didn't want the government being a part of something they've worked hard on and felt filing to become a non-profit organization isn't necessary because they're just doing it from the kindness of their hearts.
"If that blanket gives them the strength to keep going, it's worth it," Jenny said. "It's a small world and you don't know whose heart you're going to touch through a blanket."
Information from: Clovis News Journal
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