I recently read about a wonderful woman who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Having been homebound while battling lymphoma, she felt lonely and in need of someone to talk with. She reasoned that there must also be other lonely people stuck inside without companionship. She called the county aging services and asked them to help her reach out to other seniors who might want to chat on the phone, have someone check up on them or simply get a call to say hello. Shortly after her inquiry, they gave her the name and number of another woman who needed just such a thing. What began as a single call and a lone volunteer, has grown into a program called The Life Care Bank, with 350 volunteer callers and even more people at the other end of the line.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina—one of the worst natural disasters in our country's history—a group of people in San Francisco began The Blanket Project. Their mission is very simple—to let those directly affected know that we Americans across the country are concerned about them. The Blanket Project reminds us that the making of blankets and quilts is a time-honored tradition in which love and care are stitched into an object that gives warmth, comfort and shelter. The Blanket Project envisions every survivor of Katrina enveloped in blankets sewn with wishes, prayers, love and support. This grassroots effort invites each of us to make a quilt or blanket to cover someone in kindness. Hundreds of blankets have been made and shipped to the Gulf Coast, and thousands more are being made. Children are making them in schools, women are making them at book clubs and families are making them at home. Anyone can make a blanket, even you.
One woman had a friend who saved her family but lost everything else—her house, job and lifestyle—in the storm. Wanting to help her, a friend went through all her own photographs, finding many pictures of the woman and her family taken over the years. She gathered them in a book—a treasured memento to share. Her gift was an act of kindness that helped soothe her friend's aching heart.
Covering someone in love is a prevalent practice. In another national program called Project Linus, women lovingly craft handmade mittens, blankets, hats, gloves and scarves that are donated to local hospitals and schools to be given to children in need. The ladies in this group are "blanketeers" who provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children of all ages who are very ill or otherwise in need of a lovingly made gift.