BRISTOL — Neither rain, nor snow, nor the chilly weather Saturday stopped volunteers and members of the Kenosha County Association for Home & Community Education from working on their latest community service project — making blankets for kids in need.
The goal of the meeting at the Bristol Municipal Building was to sew together at least 25 twin-size fleece blankets to be donated to Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a non-profit organization which builds and donates beds to kids in need.
“We had heard about their mission to build beds and to get kids off the floor, and we thought we could offer our skills to make blankets,” said HCE member Heidi Nevoso of Twin Lakes.
“I also volunteer with Sleep in Heavenly Peace so I know this fills a need,” said Donna Deuster of Wheatland, an HCE member for three years. “It’s nice for the kids to have a clean, new, exciting comforter and a new bed to sleep in.”
The local HCE began in 1951 and is one of 48 organizations in the state, with the national organization dating back to 1940. There are now six local clubs in Kenosha County. Local HCE members work on at least four community projects and host various educational programs throughout the year.
Last year, the local HCE members held a clothing exchange that sold good, used clothing to those in need for 25 cents per piece. Money raised from the event and through donations helped fund the blanket project.
The women said the blanket sewing project was something everyone could work on, even those who couldn’t sew.
“I’m not a (person who sews), but if you tell me what to do, I can follow directions,” said Renee Proctor, who leads a small group of girls ages 14 and 15 in Girl Scouts and 4H. “Almost anyone can join in. They can fold; they can give back.”
Lila Muhlenbeck of Paris and leader of the 4H sewing project liked that it was a project the 4H girls could get involved in.
“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “It offers girls leadership and what it teaches them is giving back to the community.”
Members can do the work at home, if needed.
“I had a lot of people from the community who wanted to help,” said Nevoso. Because of the weather, she said, “a lot of the members are in their 80s and couldn’t come. One senior told me she likes doing this as it gives her purpose. I can pick up the items from her.”
The project also helps them connect to other organizations and to the community.
“You get to do community projects and get to know your neighbors,” said Margaret McCabe of Bristol, an HCE member for 20 years. “It’s a great reason to meet our neighbors.”
The best part, though, has to be the doing for others, said HCE President-elect Jeri Moore of Kenosha.