Volunteer shortage pressures winter blanket campaign

A society dedicated to providing winter blankets for people in need of warmth requires volunteers so it can continue its mandate.

A society dedicated to providing winter blankets for people in need of warmth requires volunteers so it can continue its mandate.

The Nanaimo chapter of the Blankets for Canada Society was established by Karien Bahlmann in 2002 after she saw Michaels Arts and Crafts store advertising for squares for a campaign they were running.

Since then, many volunteers have been recruited to knit or  crochet 8”x 8” squares, assemble them into blankets and deliver them to organizations that work with the homeless.

From 25 blankets in 2002, the Nanaimo chapter’s output has grown steadily, reaching 435 in 2010 – the fifth year in a row of more than 400.

All the recipients are in Nanaimo  including the Bridging Employment Program, Clearview Detox Centre, Crisis Pregnancy Centre, Harris House Health Clinic, Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, Nanaimo Brain Injury Society, Nanaimo Women’s Centre and more.

But a change in volunteer circumstances has left the chapter unable to continue its work without some assistance in coordination and administration.

Volunteers are needed to pick up donated squares from the Michaels store on Mary Ellen Drive, sort them into bags of 48 and coordinate with other volunteers who crochet or sew them into blankets.

Anyone interested in helping can call Charlene at 250-716-2177.

For more information on Blankets for Canada, please go to www.blankets4canada.ca.