Berrien County Blanket BrigadeFounded on love and compassion for hospice patients, Berrien County Blanket Brigade provides no-sew fleece blankets for hospice patients. Each blanket is lovingly created by hand and gifted to hospice patients to provide warmth, care and comfort. Please pay it forward by supporting and granting funds for this selfless, loving and dedicated brigade.
My father entered hospice in Kalamazoo in October 2010. He loved sitting outside watching the birds and letting me push him through the fall garden in his wheelchair. As the days grew chilly, I found a dark blue fleece blanket to cover his lap. That blanket was used to keep him warm at night. My brother slept on the floor by my dad's bed for three weeks and often used the blanket as did my mom when she was able to visit her husband. When my dad passed, the hospice nurse folded the blanket and handed it to me. Little did I know what that gesture would lead me to. That night, I reached for the blanket when I laid down to sleep. Grief overcame me and hugging that blanket close, I could smell my dad. I grieved with that blanket for months and my children asked for the blanket when they were sad, or ill.
When Hanson Hospice of Saint Joseph Michigan became a reality, they called on our family for a monetary donation. We were quick to say yes - BUT - I also wanted to provide every patient with a handmade fleece blanket. I sought out grants and the Berrien County Blanket Brigade was born. Children of all ages began to volunteer to tie the knots on the blankets. We met monthly and shared conversations about hospice and death. Our first meeting had five kids - we currently have to limit our volunteers as we often have over forty to fifty volunteers arrive to make blankets. I hate turning anybody away but the blankets are expensive! Over the years, we have received grants from wonderful organizations in the area. Even though we receive much support, we can always use more! The blankets cost us approximately $12 each to create. Each knot is tied with positive thoughts and energy.