National Homeless Person’s Remembrance Day is celebrated annually on December 21 to remember those who have died while experiencing homelessness. Last year, the Homeless Memorial Blanket Project was sponsored by the Chad Bruce Foundation and displayed 250 beautifully knitted and crocheted blankets at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. After the blankets were shown, they were distributed to those in need.
This year, the project continues in Washington, D.C. The art installation, sponsored again by the Chad Bruce Foundation, will be displayed in the nation’s capital. Blankets from across the nation, including all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will be displayed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building and then donated to those in need.
“Last year’s event shocked all of us – in a great way,” explained Chad Bruce Foundation board member Pat LaMarche. “Total strangers from as far away as Colorado made blankets for perfect strangers in need.”
“We covered 3200 square feet of walkway and lawn at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carlisle – and now we’re going national,” said LaMarche. “We hope to have blankets from every state and cover a minimum of 9000 square feet on the west lawn of the US Capitol.”
The blankets are meant to honor those who are unstably housed and to show what it would look like if the homeless were sleeping on the Capitol lawn. The display takes place on the longest night of the year.
The goal this year is for each state to make at least 100 blankets – 10 will be shipped to Washington, D.C. and the rest will be distributed to outreach organizations across the state.
Blanket makers who can knit, crochet, or quilt are encouraged to create a special gift for a total stranger experiencing homelessness. Both twin and full-sized blankets are welcome to be made 45 x 80 inches or 60 x 80 inches.
Amy Neurohr, a nonprofit consultant and founding member of the Blanket Project, also welcomes the contribution of 6×6 or 12×12 knitted, crocheted, or quilted squares. Those who do not have the time or resources to make an entire blanket or quilt can still be involved by contributing a piece to the larger collaborative effort.
“My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet when I was six,” said Neurohr. “I don’t know how many blankets I have made in my life, but they were all made with love to keep someone warm. I hope the recipients of our blankets will somehow feel that they are loved.”
“If you can’t make a blanket, you can help by purchasing supplies. If you can’t make an entire blanket, you can make one square or a few. We are happy to assemble all of the squares we receive. If you can make a complete blanket, know that it will be a treasure to someone who is experiencing homelessness,” said Neurohr.
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